Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Growing Up: Poor weather and storm damage may require a second planting

It's happened to all of us. We've prepared our gardens, planted a variety of annuals, perennials, and vegetables with great expectations about what the finished product will look like. Unfortunately, a wet spring, too little sun, infestation of pests and recent severe weather systems have worked against us. It's common to lose a certain percentage of our gardens to these 'issues' but take heart, there is an answer!

Think of the second planting like frosting on a cake. Once you've identified areas that are currently under performing then identify what happened. Hail and pounding winds are the culprit to garden destruction this year.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, damaged plants must be cut back and fertilized regularly to stimulate new growth. Unfortunately, many plants perennials been damaged beyond their ability to fully recover this year. However with proper care, they will return to their glory next year. Because of that, a second planting is the best alternative to quickly return the landscape to its proper stage.

Hanging baskets and gallon annuals and perennials are a great way to make a quick difference. In a main flowerbed that suffered the most damage, I added four hanging baskets bursting with petunias. I removed the hanger and pot and planted them directly in the ground. This filled in some of the empty spaces and provides much need color until the damaged plants become healthy and fall perennials begin to enter the blossoming stages.

If you've tried all of the above or you just want to give your gardens a boost, think about a second planting. Annuals, perennials and vegetable plants that have been growing in greenhouses are still available.

A few additions of new plant material can fill out an existing bed that will complete your vision. We are so fortunate to have a long growing season. I've had blooms in my yard and veggies in the garden until the end of October so planting in July is not too late!

Here are a few plants I suggest for your second planting:

• One gallon containers of Osteospermum, Dahlia, Cosmo, Aster, Zinnia, Argyranthemum, Mari-golds, Saliva or Geranium

• One gallon containers of Tomatoes, Parsley, Oregano, Chives, Basil, Cilantro

• Hanging baskets of petunias used near a front door or remove the hanger and place the entire container in an empty patio pot.

The late introduction of large sized plants will make the garden look more complete because the plant will adequately fill the space and appear equal to established plantings.

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan's Flower and Garden Center in Billings.