Garden Planner: May/Jun 2004

What to plant, what to prune, and what’s in bloom now in Dallas gardens.


May & June

In Bloom: Purple Passion


Are you green with envy over your neighbors purple plants? New hybrids are introduced every year, making plants with purple, red, and burgundy foliage the hot trend in landscaping. Blend them with pastel blossoming annuals and perennials, or go for high contrast with red, yellow, and orange complements. The varieties below are sure to satisfy your red-hot purple passion.




  •  Oxalis

  •  Wandering Jew, “Purple Heart”

  •  Oxalis, “Purple shamrock”

  •  Ajuga, “Metallica Crispa”



  •  Coleus, “Palisandra”

  •  Persian shield

  •  Coral bells, “Palace Purple”

  •  Ornamental pepper, “Explosive Ember”

  •  Purple fountain grass

  •  Sweet potato, “Blackie”

  •  Purple Ruffles basil
     Ornamental millet, “Purple Majesty”


Trees & Shrubs

  •  Purple-leaf plum

  •  Japanese maple, “Bloodgood,” “Emperor,” or “Crimson Queen”

  •  Forest pansy redbud

  •  Loropetalum (Chinese fringe flower)

  •  Nandina, “Nana”

  •  Barberry


Quick Tip

If you’re planning to buy and plant caladiums, choose tubers. Potted caladiums tend to be cultivated with a lower-grade bulb that produces smaller and fewer ornamental leaves.




Summer Checklist

Your Guide to Gardening for May and June




In Bloom
Larkspur, columbine, roses, daylilies, delphinium, hollyhocks, and so much more.


To Do List

·        Begin planting caladium tubers when nights and days are warm.


·        Plant gladiola, dahlia, and canna bulbs.


·        Lay sod for St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses.


·        Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines after they bloom.


·        This is your last chance to sow seeds of sunflower, zinnia, morning glory, marigold, cosmos, and periwinkle.


·        Pinch back pansies and snapdragons to prolong blooming season.


·        Mulch your beds well, but remember not to cover the seeds you’ve sown or they will not sprout.


·        Fertilize roses every four to six weeks with small amounts of balanced fertilizer.


·        If you can bring yourself to do it, pinch back the blooms from new annual starts. Console yourself with the fact that this will produce denser, more heavily branched plants in the long run.


·        Do not cut back narcissus foliage; allow it to turn brown and die back naturally. This is very hard for many meticulous gardeners, but it is essential for the bulb to refuel itself.



In Bloom

A jillion summer annuals including begonias, impatiens, periwinkle, classic zinnia, zinnia linearis (much smaller, daisy-like flowers that are prolific bloomers in orange, yellow, and white), ageratum, celosia, coleus, marigold, globe amaranth, Blue Daze, salvia farinacea, lantana –to name a few– and almost as many perennials, such as dianthus, roses, and chrysanthemums (if you leave them alone, they will bloom now and again in the fall).


To Do List

·        Plant spider lilies and summer annuals such as celosia, amaranth, marigolds, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, salvia, begonias, copper plant, penta, and lantana.


·        Plant fall-blooming perennials.


·        Continue to feed roses every four to six weeks.


·        Watch for black spot on roses; treat immediately with a fungicide.


·        Be sure you have sufficient mulch on your beds to keep the roots of your plants cool as the weather gets hotter.


·        Fertilize flowering plants to keep those blooms coming.


·        Houseplants enjoy a breath of fresh air when moved outside in the summer. Just be sure to put them in a shaded location; even sun-loving plants can burn outside, if they’re accustomed to being indoors.




Mix It Up  
Can’t-miss color combinations for your containers or garden.


Deep Purple & Silver

For a night-sky garden, plant purple-leaf plum trees with luminous Silverado Texas sage, Elaeagnus, or dwarf variegated pittosporum shrubs. Artemesia’s silver accents alongside loropetalum and purple oxalis complete the moonlit-sky effect.


Pastel Purple & Pink

Group subtle, cooling pastels in a garden basket on your front steps or patio for instant curb appeal. Mix several varieties of Angel Wing begonia with pink cineraria, dusty miller, and variegated English ivy. Add an Alocasia –try Polly with its purple reverse– for height.


Dusky Purple & Orange

Turn up the heat –and drama– in your garden with this pairing. Mingle nandina, barberry, and loropetalum varieties with foliage that leans more to the burgundy hues; orange hibiscus and New Guinea impatiens or deep crimson dianthus make a dramatic statement.





Fine Feathered Friends


There are so many birds moving through North Texas now that you could sit in your backyard and do nothing but count varieties and be quite busy.

Watch for ruby-throated hummingbirds on coral honeysuckle, salvia greggii, and scarlet buckeye.

Summer tanagers, red-breasted grosbeaks, and Swainson’s thrushes are the birds you see eating the fruit of mulberry trees.

Warblers and vireos are busy devouring the worms that would otherwise be denuding your pecan and red oak trees.


Watch for indigo and painted buntings in your thistle feeders; they’ll be feeding alongside American goldfinches, who are sporting their bright breeding plumage.

Also out and about: cardinals, blue jays, Carolina wrens and mourning doves with their fledglings.


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