Walking the Gardening Tight Rope

Sometimes Gardening can feel like a circus.  All your perfect little flowers lined up and ready to perform, and then suddenly they get performance anxiety and shy away from reaching their full potential while you’re stuck walking the tight rope and trying to make this year’s circus act the best act yet.  It can be exhausting to say the least.  And tho half the fun of gardening is overcoming these little obstacles, it’s kind of nice to have a few back-up plans just in case…

Welcome to Circus Acts 101 – Tips and Tricks and Quick Fixes Under the Big Top

1.  Location, Location, Location!!!
Flowers are picky.  They can’t help it.  They just are.  Some like sun, some hate it.  Some like acidic soil, some are allergic.  Some can’t decide what they like and can go either way.  So when you sign up new flowers for your three ring stunner, check out their background and make sure they will be a good fit for the location you’ve chosen.  If your flower bed is in the shade, you need shade plants.  If your flower bed is in the sun, you need sun plants.  If your flower bed is half and half, get flowers that need half sun/half shade.  Some flowers have special soil needs too, so be sure to look closely at your tags for special requirements.  And think about soil drainage.  Aside from water plants, not many flowers enjoy swimming, so make sure the location you’ve chosen is out of the flooding zone.

Quick Fix:  Flower Bed turning into a marsh land?   Dig up your plants and lay them on a tarp nearby.  Remove the soil and lay about a four inch layer of gravel in your bed.  Refill the bed with soil or organic compost and replant your flowers.

2. Violating the Maximum Capacity Rule

The Big Top may be big but it can only comfortably hold so many occupants, and overcrowding can lead to disgruntled flowers and riots.  Remember those little information tags that came with your flowers?  They also have spacing requirements.  And tho you might think that tiny little plant couldn’t possibly need as much space as its tag suggests, don’t forget that those little flowers grow up to be big flowers.  And big flowers take up more space.  By the same token, imposters can rob your flowers of their personal space, so get those weeds out of there.  After all, they didn’t even purchase a ticket to your circus did they?

Quick Fix:  Having trouble telling your flowers apart from an imposter?  It’s easy to tell a flower apart from a weed when a big beautiful bloom is sitting on top of it, but before it performs in front of the crowd, it can be kind of hard to tell the difference.  So, until your little flower is ready for its close-up, stick the flower tag in the soil in front of your star performer.  If you don’t like the look of the tag, you can label a popsicle stick and insert it instead of the nursery tag.

3.  Hiring a Camera Hog

Everybody in the Circus is a star, but some stars think they are the only ones entitled to the star-treatment and try to take over.  Your job as the Ring Leader is to quickly put them back in their place.  If you’ve chosen to hire an invasive plant, give it ample room to spread so it doesn’t trample your other flowers.  Plants like Sweet Potato, Vinca Major and Ivy grow quickly and spread like wild fire.  So if you see words like spreads quickly, prolific reseeder, or vigorous grower remember to keep them far away from your other stars.

Quick Fix:  Got a Star that’s out of control?  Cut it down to size!   Most invasive plants can take some pruning, so go ahead and cut them back to keep the shape and size that you want.  Remember you’re in control.  We recommend pinching the plants at a joint when cutting them back.  And a stern reprimand every so often probably wouldn’t hurt either.

4.  Have Fun!

A Circus without fun is like a week full of Mondays!  So bring on the clowns, the lions, the bears, and the magicians and dazzle the crowd with the Circus you create!!!

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