How Does Your Garden Grow?

Louise Grabell

Roses are red, violets are blue; I made a mistake, so I must tell you! In my last article, I incorrectly mentioned that the next citrus fertilizing should take place on July 4. That is not right; the next citrus fertilizing should take place around Memorial Day. And you thought I was perfect! (Be sure to water it in as there is no rain at that time of year.)

April is the time to finish up your plantings for the summer. All the nurseries have the best supply of annuals now and these should keep your garden in color for the rest of the growing season. Of course, proper irrigation, fertilization and dead-heading of spent blooms will keep everything looking fabulous and it will keep you outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

The best annual summer growers include marigolds, zinnias, angelonia, vinca, calybrachoa and salvia, all of which don’t mind the sun and the heat. But they don’t like to dry out! Good perennials for Arizona summers are daylilies, blue salvia, bearded iris, scabiosa (pincushion flower), echinacea, carnation and other dianthus varieties. Gaillardia does well, too. Certain plants for sale now that have beautiful blooms are cosmos, petunia and the gorgeous geraniums in every color. Beware: cosmos and geraniums are cool-weather bloomers and do not thrive in our hot summer sun, even with proper irrigation. Even in an east exposure, geraniums just seem to go dormant and their blossom heads dry up before they can open. Expect to have to replace those geraniums with something more heat-tolerant for the rest of the summer. They will survive and re-bloom next fall—if you can wait! Cosmos will not make it through the end of June in most gardens. And petunias go to seed very quickly and start to look ugly!

If you plant new trees or shrubs now, remember they grow and you should be aware of the adult size of that cute little five gallon plant. Do not modify the soil when planting and keep the new tree or shrub in moist soil for at least two to four weeks until new roots get established and then you can cut back on irrigation for them. No fertilization for new plantings of trees and shrubs. Unlike flowers and veggies, trees and shrubs need time for the growth of delicate roots and root hairs before you apply fertilizer. Pod-bearing plants (natives) will never need fertilizing! So wait a year before you enrich the soil for them.

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke invite you to visit their website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem. Your SaddleBrooke Master Gardener Volunteers are here all year round to assist with any plant or landscaping problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.