the show

Heirloom Gardening in the South with Bill Welch

air date: July 9, 2011

William Welch, co-author of Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens, illustrates our cultural garden design melting pot and some of its pioneer plants. Steve Kainer from Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery shows how to fertilize and prune pond plants. Daphne Richards explains how to help plants through heat, plus tips for growing drought-tough lamb’s ears. On tour, visit an heirloom plant garden in Smithville.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Mitzi VanSant

In Smithville, Mitzi VanSant framed her 1920’s Arts and Crafts bungalow with fragrant, heirloom plants, vegetable gardens, and a secret garden to create special memories for her grandchildren.

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Question of the Week

It’s hot! How can we help our wilting plants?

There are several key things that you can do. First, replenish the mulch around your plants. But don’t pile it up around them! Keep it away from the base, especially your trees.

Don’t fertilize right now. We want to help our plants, but fertilizer encourages growth, and we want to leave our plants in their dormant state. They don’t need any other demands on them right now.

Hold off on pruning. That encourages growth of lateral buds, and you want your plants to stay pretty much dormant right now. Certainly, you can tidy up flowering plants, especially annuals, but don’t give them dramatic cuts.

Remember that plants going to seed also feed the wildlife. Simply cut a few stems off flowering perennials if you want to clean up and leave others for the birds or to collect to plant again. With annuals, cut past the spent flower to the next leaf.

You also want to water slowly and deeply, especially in your lawns. Lower that pressure, and let that water go deeper into the soil without running off. You also want to mow your lawns more frequently instead of less frequently. A common thing that people do is to allow their lawns to get too tall before they mow, and then that shocks the lawn. Mow only 1/3 off the top. Definitely, move that mower setting to high! If you mow too low, you will fry the roots.

Container plants: move those into more shade if possible. Those containers act like little ovens, and their roots can just bake, on top of their leaves frying. For container plants around a pool or other hot area, mulch them. Water them deeply to drain and don’t water again until they’re dry.

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