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A rainbow of color in, and around your home

Garden Club of Cape Coral

January 17, 2014
By H.I. JEAN?SHIELDS ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Yes, a rainbow of color, no rain in sight. That would be in a grocery store flower/plant area. I realize rainbows are usually outside but the kinds of hot and cold, wet and dry, sun and clouds we are working our way through this fall are not producing rainbows outside, but when you look around you can find them.

I cannot say with any certainty that every market or grocery will have a rainbow set up but the three I have been in checking are doing just that.

The colors are due to the collection of cut flowers and potted flowers and plants. They are not too pricey, and certainly worth admiring if not actually buying.

The selections range from tulips, potted and fresh roses, potted or large colorful bouquets and mums that are deep purple, yellow and even green. There are the tall delicate yellow daffodils, and several colors and sizes of carnations, and yes even some sunflowers. Cyclamen plants of white, red and pale purple, and, of course, the standard hyacinth in white, purple. The hyacinth will certainly appeal to anyone who enjoys a heavy perfumed scent as it blooms.

A garden space or a front door that looks somewhat drab right now will benefit greatly from a pot of cherry red or red and white tulips. Yes, they are not going to last for the next two months, but they are certainly worth the splash of color they will add.

You do not have to plant everything you buy for gardens and front doors, get over the fact that some very interesting and colorful, even scented plants will be gone in a short time. Enjoy. When you go out for dinner for a fancy meal, do you expect it to last for a long time?

You do not have to wait for spring to stage a collection of attractive planters on the lanai or the front door entry. Try filling up a birdbath with some colors or greenery, right now.

I have a birdbath in the front of the house with red and cream-colored poinsettias, they are doing well. I expect them to last for several months. I will, however, be putting them into the garage for an overnight stay with this weekend's extra low temperatures. I did that a week ago also. A container is an easy thing to move around. The grouping may be all one color, a mix of patterns, if you are good at mixing colors, or a mix of plain and pattern.

Always be on the lookout for sales of pots; this is kind of the off season for pots. You do need to remember to put living things into pots that have an adequate draining system, like holes in the bottom of the pot. They need the watering but they need the draining even more. Do not water with warm water because it is 40 degrees, try to water well just before the temperatures drop, during the day, and check to see if they are OK after a couple of cold nights. We really do not have a lot of cold nights for a long time, however these cold shots here and there will dry out pots and other sections around the home. When winds are blowing hard and cold, they can wick out the plants moisture pretty quick.

Geraniums are a great flowering plant for this season. They should last long and bloom well, even with the uneven temperatures. They are not heavy feeders or water needing plants. I always recommend them at this time of year, however I am having to replace four small plants that I put out around the mailbox, contained by a concrete ring. I planted them just about Christmas time, wanting some red out there. They were fine for about two weeks and then started to slowly decline. Nothing to do with any weather, the sprinkler was not a problem at once a week watering. The soil should not be a problem. Sun not a problem. They did not need to be fertilized yet. So what was the problem?

I will just have to assume that the plants were just not healthy enough. This happens. Not usually to geraniums or me; however, it happens. Something we gardeners have to put up with.

I will, however, wait a few weeks to replant anything out there. A nice plot of clean earth is not really a problem, in fact it looks inviting. This weird cold up and down season we are having will not last for too long and I will not have any problem replanting, that's what gardeners do.

In the meantime, happy gardening till we meet again - keep yourself and your plantings warm.

H.I. Jean Shields is past president of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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