After a summer of heat, rain, sun, humidity — yes, we’ve had it all — are you ready to buy and plant some new perennials? If so, the UDBG Fall Plant Sale is for you! Fall flowering plants are essential as nectar soruces for migrating monarchs, red admirals and hummingbirds, as pollen and nectar sources for native bees, and as the plants that will set seed for wintering birds. All of these creatures partially depend on your garden to provide these plants. The Fall Plant Sale is Thursday, September 12, 4-7 PM (UDBG members only), Friday, September 14, 4-7 PM and Saturday, September 14, 9 AM – 1 PM. Lots of native and non-native perennials are offered for sale. To learn more about the plants, come to the Guided Plant Walk of Fall Sale Highlights on Thursday, September 5, 4 – 5:30 PM, led by Dr. John Frett. Cost is UDBG members $5; nonmembers $10. Or attend the Fall Plant Sale Highlights Lecture – “Birds, Butterflies and Blossoms: Perennials that Attract Birds & Butterflies.” On Tuesday, September 10 at 7 PM join Chanticleer’s Lisa Roper as she discusses the recipe for success – the right plants, and the cultural conditions for them to thrive. Lisa will also dazzle us with examples of attractive combinations. Cost is UDBG members $5; nonmembers $10.
Echinacea is just one of the bird and butterfly attracting perennials you’ll find at the Fall Plant Sale.
Do you plant the same annuals in the same locations year after year? If so, you are like most of us, you find a system or design you like and stick with it. But, this strategy may cause you problems. When you plant the same species in the same location year after year, and it is prone to a disease, it may have a little bit of disease present one year, but the inoculum builds up from year to year and eventually you get to the point where you simply can’t grow that plant in that location any more. This has happened in the Midwest with impatiens downy mildew and it has moved east. Few plants have the flowering impact in the shade provided by impatiens, but if you have impatiens plants with yellowed leaves, stippling, or white growth on the undersides of leaves, you may have downy mildew. As the disease progresses, plants appear stunted and foliage drops, resulting in green, leafless stems.
Downy mildew can develop in the home landscape in three ways: it occurred last year and overwintered in plant residue; it was brought in this year on infected plants even though they showed no signs of the disease; or it got blown in by wind and rain from a neighbor’s yard.
Moisture is the key that allows the disease to spread from plant to plant in a landscape bed. We’ve certainly had plenty of moisture this year and plants that are grouped together in shaded locations where they never dry out are especially susceptible to this type of disease.
The best control is to remove infected plants and prevent inoculum from overwintering. Then try some new shade loving annuals and expand your horizons. Alternatives include New Guinea impatiens, begonia, caladium, cyclamen, fuschia, lobelia, perilla, and torenia.
New Guinea impatiens