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Dial Up The Drama In Your Late Summer Gardening With These Brightly Colored High-Wattage Blooms

The hardy hibiscus (moscheutos) produces enormous flowers in late summer gardens.
hongquang09/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The hardy hibiscus produces enormous flowers in late summer gardens.

If you want a big splash of color in your late summer garden, grow the herbaceous perennials called the hardy hibiscus.

This bloom is related to the tropical hibiscus that you see in Florida and Texas, but it's an herbaceous perennial, meaning it dies back to the ground each year.

And this time of year, the hardy hibiscus puts on a big show. With August's heat, it produces plants that stand three to five feet tall and have eight-inch diameter flowers.

The blooms come in white, pink, red, or bi-colored flowers. And they produce a tremendous amount of these all over the plant for weeks.

The hardy hibiscus provides a big pop of color to your garden and growing them is fairly easy, provided they're in full sun and well-drained soil with some moisture.

Do note that this plant is very slow to get started in the spring. So be patient with it as you may not see much action from it until June. But once it gets going, you’ll have a big and vibrant plant in your landscape.

Q: I have about 10 oak trees in my yard that are full of invasive moth eggs. I cannot imagine being able to successfully scrape them all off without many or most of them dropping to the ground. I have read that horticultural oil can be sprayed on them. What would be the best time to do it? Would it hurt my trees? - Jean, in Essex

Scraping off the LDD invasive moth casings is a good start. But when you scrape them off, put them in soapy water for a couple of days to kill the eggs.

You can also spray horticultural oil directly on the trunks and branches of trees and then spray them again in late winter or early spring.

Q: My bush beans have been eaten down so quickly that the first time I thought they hadn’t germinated. This year I ended up with two-inch stems. I planted more, and the first planting regrew. That’s good, but I’d like to know what’s getting them so quickly and completely. The garden is fenced, but that won’t stop a chipmunk. But it does look like insect damage on surrounding veggies. Also my knockout rose almost died until I sprayed it with Bonide. It made a valiant return. Before I sprayed, I found tiny ⅛-inch tiny worms on it. - Diane, in Rutland

If the bean plants are not coming up at all or if they're very small, this could be due to cut worms or slugs.

If the plants are growing up and then get kind of mowed down, that sounds more like the work of a four-legged creature, like a rabbit or woodchuck.

Fencing can keep these away from your bean plants. Choose a wire fence with small holes in then surround your garden space with the fence going up about three feet tall. At the fence line on the ground, bend it out and away from the garden in an “L” shape. That way when the rabbit or woodchuck comes to tunnel underneath the fence, they hit more fencing and then they get frustrated.

As for the trouble with roses, those are likely rose slugs. These are small caterpillar-like insects that will defoliate your rose bushes especially early in the season before they start flowering.

Spraying with an organic product is a good idea but spray twice a day, early morning and later in the day. That way the product has time to dry and won’t be harmful to honeybees.

Next week we'll be talking about flowering vines so send your questions!

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.