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On June 29th, 2018 by Kathie Rowell

It's too late to plant these tough customers

Posted In:
Blog | Blog-Tips

Angelonias keep blooming when the heat turns up.

If your beds didn't turn out the way you'd envisioned this year, it’s not too late to remedy the situation – as long as you choose wisely.

Here’s a list of a few plants that can take the heat of Southern summer:

  • Zinnia: These candy-colored annuals light up your landscape -- and are tough as nails.
  • Angelonia: The flowers may remind you of cool-weather loving snapdragons, but angelonias are tough customers that survive hot, dry conditions -- and they don't have to be deadheaded!
  • Salvia: It’s not surprising that most perennial salvias are happy when it’s hot: they are native to the Southwest, so heat doesn’t faze them.
  • Caladium: Shady areas can seem dark and the variegated foliage of caladiums will light them up.
  • Marigold: These heat lovers provide color in summer-appropriate shades of yellow, cream, orange and rust. To keep them blooming, deadhead frequently.
  • Periwinkle: Among the few plants that will withstand reflected heat from driveways and sidewalks, periwinkles require well-drained soil.
  • Pentas: These butterfly magnets like full to partial sun and will keep pumping out flowers if they are deadheaded occasionally.
  • Torenia: Looking for color in a shady spot? Torenia is a native of Vietnam so it's well suited to Louisiana's heat and humidity.
  • Sweet potato vine: A great spiller for container plantings, sweet potato vines grow like kudzu when it gets hot. In fact, you’ll probably need to pinch the ends to keep them full and bushy instead of crawling throughout your landscape.
  • Lantana: It's never too late to add heat-loving lantana. Know what you're buying, though, if space is an issue. While some lantanas maintain a low, mounding habit, others can reach 5 feet tall and wide in a single growing season.

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On June 1st, 2018 by Kathie Rowell

Butterflies topic of talk

Posted In:
Blog | Blog-Tips

Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Mike Livingston, who is in charge of the butterfly garden at the Randle T. Moore Center, shared great information and tips for attracting butterflies to your yard at a recent talk. Here's a brief recap:

Butterflies like a sunny spot sheltered from the wind and large swaths of plants of different heights, colors, shapes and species. Provide a "puddling" area where they can get water and salt and at least two host plants.

Host plants:

  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata)
  • Rue (Rue graveolens)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum)
  • Pussy willow (Salix discolor)
  • Pipevine (Aristolochia fimbriata)

Nectar plants

  • Abelia (Abelia grandiflora)
  • Agastache foeniculum (Anise hyssop)
  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
  • Butterfly penta (Pentas lanceolata)
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium)
  • Lantana (Lantana camara)
  • Phlox (various)
  • Porterweed (Stachytarpheta)
  • Mexican sunflower (Tithonia)
  • Verbena (various)
  • Zinnia (various)

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On May 1st, 2018 by Kathie Rowell

Celebrate Mom!

Posted In:
Blog | Blog-Tips

Mother's Day is just around the corner and we're stocked with a multitude of planters and hanging baskets, as well as garden and home decor. Drop by to browse. You're sure to find something that will put a smile on her face.


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On January 1st, 2018 by Kathie Rowell

Camellias beautify dreary winter days

Posted In:
Blog

Don’t you feel sorry for gardeners who live where there are no winter flowers?

Camellias are the super stars of winter garden in the South, lighting up the landscape with lovely flowers in red, rose, pink, white and bicolors. Plant now and you'll be able to enjoy them for many weeks.

Both Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua, the two varieties most often planted here, prefer a partial shade location. A well-drained spot where they will receive about four to six hours of morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal. They also thrive under the high shade cast by pine trees. Like azaleas, camellias do best in acid soil. If your soil pH is above 7, add an acidifier at planting time and feed your plant with fertilizer labeled for acid-loving plants.

Here’s a look at a few of the popular varieties Akin’s usually has in stock:

  • Nuccio’s Gem: a strong upright grower that bears loads of perfectly formed, pristine white semidouble flowers with a rosebud center in early to mid-season.
  • Cotton Candy: an early-season bloomers that bears masses of clear pink, semidouble flowers.
  • Kanjiro: a vigorous upright grower with early, rose-pink, semidouble flowers shading to rose-red on the petal edges.
  • Shishi Gashira: a compact, low-grower that bears early rosy-red, semidouble flowers. Named a Louisiana Super Plant.
  • Setsugekka: a moderate upright grower with masses of early, white, semidouble flowers bearing golden stamens.

Adding one, or more, of these camellias will give your eyes something beautiful to rest on during winter’s grayest, dreariest months.


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On December 2nd, 2017 by Kathie Rowell

Christmas plant care tips

Posted In:
Blog | Blog-Tips

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without poinsettias, paperwhites, amaryllises and cyclamen.

Keep them looking their best with these tips:

Poinsettia:  Place the plant where is will get some sunlight and won’t be exposed to drafts. Water with warm water when the soil surface is dry to the touch, but don’t let the plant stand in water. Avoid getting mist or water on the colored bracts.

Paperwhite:  For best flowering, leave the bulb pot outside if temperatures will stay above freezing.  When grown in warm temperatures and with low light, foliage and flowers tend to flop. Once the flowers open, bring the pot inside, but move it to an unheated location at night to extend flower life.

Amaryllis: Put the pot near a sunny window, and rotate it a quarter turn every few days once the flower stalk emerges to keep it growing straight. Too little light will result in a weak, spindly stalk. Keep soil evenly moist.

Cyclamen: Keep the soil moist, but don’t water from above. Place the pot in a shallow tray of water and let the roots take it up. They prefer temperatures in the 60s and like bright light.


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On October 1st, 2017 by Kathie Rowell

October garden tips

Posted In:
Blog | Blog-Tips | Tips

Plant cool-season color, such as pansies, violas, dianthus, alyssum, stock,  ornamental cabbage and kale and snapdragons. Refresh your beds first with Vital Earth compost and Fertilome Bedding Plant Food.

Create fall porch displays with potted mums, crotons and pumpkins.

Plant these vegetables in October, says LSU AgCenter: Cabbage, broccoli (transplants), turnips, collards, kale, parsley, shallots, radishes, beets, leaf lettuce, celery, onions, Swiss chard, garlic and carrots. Plant endive, mustard, spinach and Chinese cab­bage early in the month.

Begin to plant trees and shrubs as the weather cools down and rain returns to the area.

Get your soil tested in the fall, says LSU AgCenter. Akin’s has the kits available to be completed and mailed to the AgCenter.

Sow seeds of larkspur, sweet pea, poppy and bluebonnet for spring bloom.

Purchase spring bulbs and begin planting daffodils at the end of the month. Tulips and hyacinth bulbs must be refrigerated for six to eight weeks before being planted in November/December.

Dig and divide crowded perennials, such as daylilies, phlox, coreopsis, daisies and irises.

Build a compost bin or set aside an area for a compost pile. You’ll have plenty of fall leaves soon to fill it. Or you could use fallen leaves as mulch.

Continue a spray program on roses to prevent blackspot and powdery mildew. We recommend Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for organic gardeners.

Watch for chinch bug damage in lawns.  Symptoms are irregular patches of dead grass surrounded by yellowing grass. Treat with Hi-Yield Bug Blaster or Cyonara Lawn and Garden Spray.

Spray trees affected by scale insects with Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray.

Irrigate lawns, landscape and garden beds, including newly planted trees and shrubs, in the absence of rain.

Watch the lawn for signs of brown patch, which often shows up during cool, wet weather. If it occurs, treat with Fertilome F-Stop.

Control powdery mildew on ornamentals with Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for organic gardeners.

Cut back perennials that have finished blooming for a tidy appearance.


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On September 19th, 2017 by Kathie Rowell

It's time to plant cool-season veggies

Posted In:
Blog

Cooler weather is on the way and that means fall veggies. Cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, kale, collards  and more thrive in our climate.

Here's a list from LSU AgCenter of vegetables from that can be planted in September:

  • Beets, broccoli (transplants or seeds through September)
  • Brussels sprouts (transplants or seeds)
  • Cabbage (transplants or seeds)
  • Chinese cabbage (transplants or seeds)
  • Cauliflower (transplants or seeds)
  • Collards (transplants or seeds)
  • Endive
  • Carrots
  • English peas
  • Snow peas
  • Garlic (late September)4
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onions (seeds, late September)
  • Parsley
  • Snap beans (early September)
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Shallots
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Kale

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On August 3rd, 2017 by Kathie Rowell

Tips for proper irrigation

Posted In:
Blog | Tips

Our area has been lucky to experience some much-needed rainfall recently, but Louisiana's hottest, driest weather is often in August, so pay close attention to your lawn, newly planted shrubs and trees, and landscape beds.

LSU AgCenter offers these tips for effective irrigation:

  • Irrigate early. Morning water pressure is usually higher and foliage will have time to dry before evening, reducing the chance of disease problems.
  • Apply 1 to 2 inches of water per week to established lawns in the absence of rain. It’s best to deliver the water once or twice per week with at least 1 inch each time. Frequent, shallow watering results in shallow roots.
  • Determine how much water is being delivered by placing several shallow water collectors, such as tuna cans, around the landscape to check both coverage and inches-per-hour output.
  • Consider soil type. Soils with high clay content need several short, back-to-back cycles for water to penetrate, but hold water longer. Sandy soils need more frequent and shorter-cycle applications because moisture isn’t retained long.
  • Locate plants with similar water needs together to prevent over- or underwatering.
  • Irrigate newly planted trees every 7 to 10 days in the absence of rain by letting a hose trickle for about a half hour near the trunk. Newly planted shrubs can be watered with soaker hoses or sprinklers.
  • Check container plants frequently for dry soil. Watering every day, or even twice a day, may be necessary. Factors include temperature, pot size and material, type of potting mix, drought tolerance of a plant and whether a plant is in sun or shade.

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On August 3rd, 2017 by Kathie Rowell

August garden tips

Posted In:
Blog | Tips

 

Prune everblooming roses by about one-third in late August and apply fertilizer to the bed. We recommend Rose-tone or Fertilome Rose and Flower Food.

Continue a spray program to prevent blackspot and powdery mildew. We recommend Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for organic gardeners.

Dig and divide Louisiana irises, replanting as soon as possible. Don’t let them dry out.

Watch for chinch bug damage in lawns. Symptoms are irregular patches of dead grass surrounded by yellowing grass. Treat with Hi-Yield Bug Blaster or Cyonara Lawn and Garden Spray.

Keep annuals and perennials deadheaded to prolong blooming.

Apply Sluggo or Earth-Tone Bug and Slug Control for Organic Gardening if damage from snails and slugs occurs. Sluggo targets only slugs and snails. Earth-Tone Bug and Slug Control for Organic Gardening kills sowbugs, pillbugs, earwigs and cutworms, as well as slugs and snails.

Spray trees affected by scale insects with Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray.

Irrigate lawns, landscape and garden beds, including newly planted trees and shrubs, in the absence of rain.

Remove suckers that sprout at the base of trees, such as crape myrtles, vitex and yaupon holly. Don’t leave stubs.

Control powdery mildew on ornamentals with Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for organic gardeners.

Direct seed broccoli and cauliflower in mid August.

Set out broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage transplants in mid-August.

Start planting turnip, mustard and collard greens in mid-August.

Plant a fall crop of green beans in late August.

Continue to plant warm-season ornamentals – it’s a long time till frost! -- such as begonias, gerbera daisies, coleus, marigolds, periwinkles, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes, lantana, torenias, ageratum, angelonias and caladiums. Before replanting, give your soil a boost with Vital Earth compost and Fertilome Bedding Plant Food.

Cut off yellowing foliage and flowers that form on caladium plants.

Pull out and compost healthy vegetable plants that have finished producing. Discard, don’t compost, diseased plants.


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    Founded more than 60 years ago and still locally owned, Akin's takes pride in providing customers with friendly service, quality plants suited for our climate, professional landscape services and the kind of knowledgeable advice that comes from years of area gardening experience.
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