The dark, fine-textured foliage of this perennial herb combined with its height (up to 6 feet tall) make it a great background for borders or herb gardens. It attracts beneficial insects and feeds the caterpillars that molt into swallowtail butterflies.
Fennel likes full sun and will grow in dry soils. It has a wide range and will tolerate pH levels from 4.5 to 8.3.
Fennel likes a rich, moist well drained soil, but will tolerate drought.
Sow seeds where you want them in the garden in spring or fall. You can also start seed indoors as well. Soak seed for 4 to 5 days to increase germination. Plants freely self reseed.
Cut plants back to force them to become bushier. If they get too leggy staking maybe required. Deadhead flowers to prevent reseeding. Some seeding is desirable to replace plants that die.
Flowers attract beneficial insects, so don’t cut them before they start to fade. Foliage is also a favorite food of the catepillars of swallowtail butterflies.
Cut plants back to the ground after hard freeze.
Caution Contact with plant juices can cause skin irritation.
Flax (aka Blue Flax, Prairie Flax).
Flax is a clump forming perennial requires well drained soil. It has blue flowers and may bloom up to 12 weeks from early to mid-summer. It is a short lived plant but readily self-seeds.
Flax likes full sun, well drained soils and will tolerate hot weather and dry soils.
Flax will not overwinter in poorly drained soils.
Planting Flax is easy, sprinkle seed where you desire new Flax plants. Sprinkle to wet seed and soil. Don;t allow soil to become dry before seeds germinate. Trim Flax back after flowering to avoid leggy appearance and encourage new growth and flowering. Plant in masses to create spread.
Gaillardia (aka Blanket Flower, Indian Blanket)
Gaillardia provides dazzling summer color to the garden with striking blooms in combinations of red, yellow and orange offset by deep brown centers. Great for hot, dry sites.
Blanket Flower likes full sun, well drained soil and will tolerate poor dry soils.
Sow seed directly outdoors after the last frost. Do not cover the seeds they need light to germinate.
Seed germinates best from 60%F to 65%F. Seedlings will emerge in about 14 to 21 days.
Hollyhock is a biennial has tall spikes of single or double brightly colored flowers. Can be direct seeded (not flowering until the second year), and self re-seeds so readily that it appears to be a perennial once established in the garden.
Hollyhocks like full sun and a well drained soil. Sow seeds directly into your garden plot. Do Not cover seeds. Sprinkle to wet soil and seeds. Keep soil moist until seeds sprout in about 9 to 15 days.
Hollyhocks grow from 4 to 8 feet tall depending on variety. Plants spread 1 to 2 feet wide. Plant / thin plants so they are 18 to 24 inches apart. Hollyhocks bloom from mid-summer into late fall.
Flower may be 2 to 4 inches wide, single or double petal. Flower colors may be red, pink, yellow, violet or white.
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