Bridal Blooms


    Can an August bride grow her own bouquet? Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, reveals a professional growers’ secrets for successful bridal blooms. Plus your fabulous phone calls.

    Photo by flickr user auntiepauline

    Question of the Week:

    “I’m getting married on August 24, and would like to grow some of my own flowers for the wedding. What can I plant over the next few weeks that would bloom abundantly in late August? Specifically, I’d like plants with sturdy stems that will hold up in arrangements and bouquets. I’d also welcome any suggestions in terms of staggering plantings to make sure we have something to cut that week. At the very least, I would like to have flowers blooming at our house, as we’ll have lots of people coming through.”

    — Julia in Collegeville, Pennsylvania

    Growing flowers for a wedding in August »

    Highlights from the show:

    Too much sun?

    Margaret in Orlando, FL lives in a beautiful tropical climate with lots of hot days and feels like there needs to be a new set of zones for the country, so Orlando could be dialed up to a 12 out of 1-10. Her vegetable garden is doing well, but she’s curious if she has done the right thing by setting up system of umbrellas in her backyard that she uses every day at 2pm to help shade the plants. Should they have sun all day long? Mike assures her she is on the right track. He says, “You are doing exactly the right thing and you are doing what the professionals do.” The real professionals, he says, have different grades of shade cloth, some that let in some sun in and some that are as dark as night. Margaret really doesn’t have to change a thing since plants really need a break in the hot afternoon sun.


    Adam in Portsmouth, NH has a question about an azalea that is not looking very good and he was thinking about moving it to a shade garden near the house. Currently it’s close to the brick and has too much sun, but he take’s care of it mulches it with compost, so he thinks it’s a sun issue. Mike agrees and urges Adam to always mulch with foffee grounds, pete moss, since azaleas are acid loving plants. In the wild, azaleas are traditionally understory plants which means they get sun, but it’s shielded, so moving to a shaded area is good and Adams timing is perfect. Mike recommends, “Let it finish blooming, but then the good news is that after azaleas and rhododendrons are done blooming they like to be pruned back.” It stimulates a lot of new growth for next year.

    Coffee Grounds

    Thomas in Nashville, Tennessee generates around 2 cups a week of coffee grounds and wants to know how he can use this in his garden. Mike first asks if he has acid loving plants, which Thomas does. Mike warns, “You only wan to put them on plants that like an acid soil,” “so you have to balance the need for that acid soil with not inhibiting the flowering of the plant.” Mike says he can put coffee grounds on azaleas in the early spring. Mike assures Thomas that with the small amount of grounds he’s making he doesn’t think there is a danger of inhibiting any flowering.

    Fruit Tree Pruning

    Mike, who is driving around Fort Wayne Indiana and lives outside of Columbus, OH, moved into a house last year that has apple and pear trees. He got some great apples, but no pears. He wants to plan for this year as far as dealing with bugs and pests. He is curious if he can make his own natural pesticide and when to apply it. Mike says he should have been ready to prune them right around when they flowered. Fruits must be thinned massively, Mike warns, “fruit trees are very time consuming.” Mike says it’s getting late, but it’s better to prune them then not. Mike is worried that the pear tree needs dramatic pruning since he can’t even reach the fruit. Mike says dramatic pruning is fine, but it really has to be the right time. “The first chance you get get in there and take out some branches that seem overly full and then study fruit tree pruning and be ready this winter/early spring”. Mike also warns, “Homemade peticides is crazy talk! You don’t want to go there!”

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