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Bloom With A Bang

IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES and use your space wisely when investing in plants for the garden, especially for small spaces. So I am always searching for plants that have characteristics that are appealing for more than a few short weeks or even one season.

BIG BANG SPIREA PROVIDES THREE-SEASON INTEREST and color to the garden, spanning from spring to fall. From its pink flowers in summer to three seasons of foliage color, Big Bang spirea, Spiraea japonica ‘Tracy,’ just keeps going. In the spring, the new growth emerges orange and transitions to yellowish green for the summer. In the fall, the leaves turn golden orange before they drop for the winter.

THIS FLOWERING SHRUB BLOOMS ON NEW WOOD, or new growth. The flat-topped flower of Big Bang, one of the Double Play spirea series, emerges in the summer and pink flowers cover the plant for up to three weeks. The flower shape is very attractive to butterflies. Deadheading after the first flowering period will encourage minor reblooming.

THE PLANTS HAVE A MOUNDED SHAPE and grow about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. They are adaptable to most soils, but need good drainage. Their deer resistance is a plus. They prefer to grow in full- to part-sun locations. With this natural-looking shrub, only light pruning is necessary to maintain a clean, mounded habit. Suitable for small spaces or planted in groups for a larger effect, this spirea can make a beautiful, big bang when planted in your garden.

by Angie McManus

Q: I have found a yellow substance in my flower garden. It has shown up on the base of my flowers. It does not seem to be coming from flowers.

A: It sounds like you have a fungus or mold growing in your flower garden. Soil is made up of organic matter and this is a good thing that promotes healthy plants, but too much organic matter in combination with too much moisture is a great environment for fungal spores to live. Although this fungus is not harmful to your garden, it is a good indicator that the soil is too moist and this can lead to root rot, which will eventually kill your plants.

You can remove the fungal spores by scraping them off, but they may eventually grow back so avoid watering if Mother Nature provides sufficient moisture to the garden. Heat and sunlight will help to dry out the soil and kill any remaining fungal spores.

This is also common in heavily mulched beds. If you mulch your flower garden and the mulch is more than 3 inches thick, you should remove some of it.

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