Harder clips, longer summer

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Lobelia speciosa, a cardinal flower hybrid. Isn't it gorgeous and aren't we glad of its fresh face in late summer? Our mentors taught us, "Don't sit back now and make summer end sooner than it should! Keep it cut, keep annuals cut, keep more flowers coming!" 

"Summer's not done yet, keep cutting!"

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It's August-- still a month and more of growing to enjoy. We thank our Mentors who told us to enjoy every day of summer, and to keep cutting back annuals and repeat blooming perennials.


Janet admired some hanging baskets while shopping for quick-fix color and complemented the growers, who replied, "Glad you like 'em. Cutting them back hard has a lot to do with that."


Louise Lannoye, below, stands with fellow cutters Sarah Drumm on the left and Sharon Dickson on the right. Sarah holds Janet's petunias, while Sharon holds another of the same age that's been cut back. They all say, "This one you're buying is ready to be cut again. We know people have a hard time cutting them hard when they look so pretty but at least take a few long stems out of it."




Right: "Naw," you might say, "that can't be an OLD basket, it has to be a newer planting!" Yet the proof of its age and the effectiveness of cutting is right there under the new shoots. Look for yourself (below) and you'll see clipped-back stems.




Below: So when Janet got ready to plant that petunia basket, she took out several stems to promote more new growth. It does reduce the color but the basket is still pretty and now destined to be prettier, fresher, longer.

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Below, left: This cardinal flower has been blooming for several weeks and its first spikes are mostly done now. Below, right: But flowering side shoots are growing (top inset) or ready to grow (center inset) once those seedy stems above are removed.

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