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Michael Wheeler: Tailoring a flowering garden to its gardener
0422WHEELER-Phlox
Gardeners use flowers like phlox for cuttings during the season.

Most plant lovers want to have flowers blooming in their garden all season long, but the problem arises in what to grow.

Gardeners must ask themselves if they want flowers that look beautiful and have a fragrance?

If they answer yes, then try clove, pinks, nicotiana, sweet William, sweet alyssum, stock, four-o’clocks, phlox, vinca, spike celosia, blood flower and lantana.

Many of these can be obtained as started plants from the local greenhouse or garden center.

Some plant lovers are forced to garden in shade or half shade. They consider their yards in an unfortunate area.

I disagree. If they are thoughtful with their selections of flowering plants, they can have a beautiful flowering garden where they once considered it impossible.

Many plants actually prefer some shade. They include ageratum, annual aster, bachelor buttons, balsam, begonias, browallia, caladium, calliopsis, celosia, coleus, impatiens, lobelia, nicotiana, pansy snapdragon, stock sweet alyssum and torenia.

Other gardeners plant flowers to use as cuttings throughout the season. And a few flowers accomplish that feat well. They are African daisy, annual aster, annual carnation, baby’s breath, bachelors buttons, chrysanthemum, cosmos, everlastings, various grasses, larkspur, love-in-a-mist, marigold, mignonette, nasturtium, panting tongue, pansy, petunia, phlox, poppy, stocks sweet pea sweet sultan and verbena.

Then lastly, some home florists prefer to see their gardens last into the winter and fall. Drying flowers is a great way to do that.

But do not delay planting annuals now for drying later. Pick them just before the centers or flowers unfold. By doing this, you will capture the bright colors created as they dry.

Suitable flowers are strawflowers, gomphrena, sea lavender, acroclinium and money plant.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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