They Don't All Have To Be Petunias
Petunias do well in northern Nevada gardens. They like the heat and the sun and everyone loves to see at least one Petunia flowering in the onion patch. Easy to grow, petunias, marigolds, zinnias and others are especially good for teaching oneself how to garden. And it's true, too, that annuals tend to bloom more or less profusely throughout their short lives, which adds color to the room. But there are many more plant types, besides the beloved Petunia, that thrive in our region during the summer months, lasting only a single season because they die with the killing frost, but nevertheless adding interest and color to the seasonal garden.
For our area, many plants considered perennial and even evergreen in other climates, are often treated as annuals. For example, we sell an exclusive, limited selection of succulents that our customers plant for ornamental value, knowing that the plants will need to be transplanted to containers and brought inside to warmer air in the winter, or else they will die in the ground from the killing frost.
It's surprising how much indoor space can be found when facing the prospects of watching a beloved plant that is thriving and developing into its own be suddenly devastated and prematurely killed from no fault of its own, but only because the temperatures are not suited to the plant's survival.
Many begonias love the warm summer shade of Northern Nevada gardens. Give them their required amount of water and food, begonias will delight with interesting foliage and continuous blooms throughout the warm season. But if you love your begonias, consider planting them in containers so that you can bring them inside for the winter. Many types of begonia live for years in containers. After all threat of frost has passed, bring your begonias outside to let them enjoy the fresh air and nice weather. The trick is to keep them in the shadier spots of the garden and to keep their soils moist. Prolong blooming by deadheading.
Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus)
From a foot tall to over six, from outrageous pink, to fuchsia, deep purple and crimson, Love Lies Bleeding is sure to gain ooohs and aaahs from your garden guests. Easy to grow by young transplant or seed, plant in full sun and water moderately, but regularly. Water requirements will vary depending upon what plants are sharing the same space. Applications can be somewhat varied, but the more balanced plan is the best. Try not to over water, and as with many annuals, try not to rock back and forth from drought to flood, drought to flood. Moderate, regular watering (no droughts, no continuous saturations) in a spot receiving intense sunlight is the key. If treated correctly, the plants will be visually amazing come autumn.
Even though Reno has the look and feel of a city .located in the desert, which it is, it is also a city located on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, forty-five hundred or so feet above sea level. We live in the mountains, but we live in the desert. Because of this, many gardeners enjoy and promote a desert aesthetic. And of course, cactus and succulents are major ingredients in creating the desert aesthetic. There are several types of cacti that are winter hardy for our area. But the selection is limited, especially compared to southern deserts and even more limited compared to the immense variety of African euphorbias that are available as ornamentals. Many gardeners will add non-hardy cacti and succulents to spaces that support growth and vibrancies through the summer months. When autumn arrives, decisions are made whether to protect them from the winter. It's fairly easy to winter the plants, especially if you have some indoor space. With these non-hardy plants, their winter dormancy habits allow plants with dry soil, even exposed roots for some, in a cool place inside away from the deep freeze and wild weather of winter.
Pansies and Violas have such sweet, delicate sounding names. Their flowers suggest all sweetness and fragility, and yet they are very tough and enduring. They even do well in sun warmed rock gardens. They don't even blink at cold snaps in the spring. They bloom all summer long. They're great companion plants. They do well in containers. They brighten and bring cheer to any view. Who cannot love them?
Silver Falls (Dichondra)
Growing two to three feet long silver trails that add interest and accent. Beautiful, rounded silver leaves that will do fine in full sun, but will also take part shade. They are a perfect annual for containers and hanging baskets, as they will grow over the edges and trail down. They're also nice as an annual ground cover. These plants need well-drained soil, but they also enjoy being watered regularly.
We try to provide an unusual assortment of autumn annuals, such as ornamental cabbages and kale. It can be a nice addition of color and texture to otherwise bare spots left by dying summer annuals. As winter takes over and the heavy snows arrive, the cabbage is slowly covered by the falling snow, leaving colorful geometric patterns contrasted dramatically by the whiteness of the snow. The patterns fluctuate as the snow melts, receeds, then reappears again. It's an interesting pastime to watch colors change and fade from summer with the falling of leaves and the weathering of winter as the cold winds approach to blow the spent leaves from the trees.