Fool-proof annuals and perennials for your gardens, plus Master Gardener training
The spring gardening season is in full force! If you are searching for some well-adapted, easy-to-find, low-maintenance and high-performance garden flowers for our area, here are a few suggestions.
Some favorite sun-loving annuals include periwinkles, pentas and sunpatiens (a sun-loving type of impatiens.) One of my favorite annuals, Angelonia (or summer snapdragon) is now available in an array of colors and is especially heat tolerant.
Although petunias have been around since our grandmothers' gardens, the new supertunias are extremely vigorous. “Vista Bubblegum” easily will fill a 2-by-2-foot space in your garden!
You also can count on Cleome hybrids such as the “Sparkler” series, which butterflies and hummingbirds love.
Sun coleus is the perfect annual for beautiful foliage and comes in many colors and color combos. The various sweet potato vines also are a great foliage choice for full sun. They both look great when added to container plantings but also when used in planting beds.
Some favorite sun-loving perennials that perform all summer include most of the perennial salvias, hardy verbena, “Walkers Low” catmint, Gaura (butterfly flower), purple coneflower (Echinacea), “Volcano” phlox, coreopsis and the re-blooming daylilies.
For shade annuals, you usually can't fail with the impatiens. I love begonias, and although there are sun begonias, the shade-loving wax, angel wing and tuberous begonias are beautiful. And don’t forget caladiums for showy foliage!
Favorite shade perennials include hostas, columbines, coralbells and ajuga.
Be a Master Gardener
If you love to garden and are willing to share that love with others, you may be interested in becoming a Master Gardener, In Oklahoma County, we are taking applications for the 2019 Master Gardener training until May 10. You must be able to attend a series of classes that begins in early September and continues through November. The classes meet every Tuesday and offer instruction in vegetable gardening, lawn care, fruit production, landscaping, tree planting and care, pruning, insect and disease control, composting, soil improvement and a long list of other horticulture subjects.
After training, Master Gardeners donate back volunteer hours with hands-on projects at our partner sites like the Oklahoma City Zoo and Will Rogers Gardens. They also assist others in their community by helping answer gardening and landscaping questions of individuals that contact the Extension Service office. Most Master Gardeners find that answering these requests becomes one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives because they learn so much and are able to help other gardeners. After completing the training and fulfilling their volunteer hours, students will qualify for the title of Certified Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.
In addition to volunteering their time to beautifying our state, Master Gardeners also meet once a month to extend their knowledge of gardening subjects. They also travel together to see gardens and gardening projects throughout our state and also in other states.
Becoming a Master Gardener is one of the most positive things you can do for your community. It also is one of the best ways to help increase your own knowledge of gardening. If you would like more information about the Oklahoma County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, give us a call at 713-1125 or download the application at http://oces.okstate.edu/oklahoma.
Email Julia Laughlin, Oklahoma County Extension Educator-Horticulture, at firstname.lastname@example.org