Too much heat, not much rain
By Megan Maginity firstname.lastname@example.org
Master gardener Nancy Carroll waters her tomato plants on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Carroll said that while the plants are ahead of schedule thanks to unseasonably warm early spring temperatures, the lack of rain recently has kept her busy watering her plants. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Tips to a healthy
Water deep: Instead of sprinkling flowers and plants each day, water plants once or twice a week for an extended period of time. Depending on the plant, water needed for each plant measures up to a full coffee can on average. Avoid walking around the garden each day and watering for five minutes, because that causes plants to wilt or die because of this year’s heat.
Plant protection: Mulch and moss can be used as protection for plants. While watering, the mulch and moss will soak up additional water for the plant. On days when the plant is not being watered, the plant will still be wet.
Water at plant base: To avoid different funguses, water plants at their base. If a plant is watered only at the top, water may not have time to dry or soak in and will eventually kill the plant because of fungus or disease.
Avoid hot hours: Try to stay out of the garden during the hot hours of the day. Watering should take place in the early morning or early evening so the plant has time to soak in the water without the sun drying it out.
Tips from Nancy Carroll, master gardener alumnus at University of Illinois Extension
While all of her friends were playing with Barbie dolls in first grade, Nancy Carroll was growing the largest pumpkin she had ever seen in the wooded backyard of her Peoria home.
The now-Naperville resident remembers the beginning of her love for nature and inviting friends to her house to witness her grown pumpkin.
“I couldn’t understand how the pumpkin grew from my planted seed,” she said. “My dad always had great big mounds of dirt, and I planted seeds. I loved growing something myself, and I passed my love of gardening down to my two daughters and son. Now I encourage all young mothers to have their kids pick out plants and flowers they would like to help grow.”
The 58-year-old Carroll, a member of the Naperville Garden Club for 22 years, said she goes through gardening phases. At times she enjoys taking on large projects in the mornings, at other times, she just focuses on planting a smaller flower.
However, Carroll still recommends that all gardeners take a walk through their garden each day.
“There is always something to see, whether there are new butterflies, blooming plants or cherries on a tree,” she said. “It is a good addiction, and I like to check out everything.
“Gardens grow whether you are watching or not, so you can’t forget about it or you will have some catching up to do.”
The unexpected warm weather, which has persisted since spring, has put gardens two weeks ahead of schedule, she said. Carroll’s garden now consists of blooming lilies, alliums, roses, various perennials and 16 hummingbird feeders.
“The weather is wearing me out because of the drought,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of mulching and protecting (plants) from the sun. Mulch soaks up the water and holds moisture for the plant when I water in the morning. I also replaced tender plants with more drought resistant ones. While the hot weather is great for pools and other activities, it isn’t for flowers. There hasn’t been any good rain.”
Carroll waters deep, meaning she waters her plants for an extended time causing water to reach plant roots once or twice a week.
“If a gardener walks around the garden watering each plant for 20 seconds, the roots turn around and come to the surface for water,” she said. “Then, eventually the sun comes and kills the plant.”
According to Carroll, tender flowers also like to move slowly into summer instead of getting blasted by heat, which is the lesson she has taught others in her lectures presented at numerous libraries, garden clubs, private groups, schools and on several WGN radio talk shows, which are broadcast at 7:20 a.m. on Saturdays.
The dedicated gardener has additionally won the Grand Champion award twice at the Heart of Illinois fair, Best of Show at a community garden show, and several awards from the Standard Flower Show hosted by the Naperville Garden Club.
Carroll is preparing two pieces, including a table piece and a horticulture piece, for the upcoming flower show in Naperville.
JoAnne Monge, Naperville Garden Club flower show chairman, said beginning in the late 1990s, the purpose of the Naperville show is to educate the garden club members and public, stimulate interest in horticulture and floral design, and provide an outlet for creative expression.
“Due to seasonal weather, sometimes on the day of the show, we find there is no entries for particular category, so we eliminate it,” said Marilyn Krueger, president of the Naperville Garden Club. “Weather is so unpredictable. I always find if it is a bad year for one flower, it is an excellent year for different flower. You can’t count on particular flowers each year. So, there are always surprising pieces brought into the fair.”
More than 30 club members are participating in the upcoming Connections, A Standard Flower Show from 1 to 5 p.m. June 29 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 30 at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St. The free show will consist of three categories, including horticulture, design and special exhibits.
Other upcoming garden shows include:
The sixth annual Team Fox Garden Walk from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 23 at Cantigny Park, 1s151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. A $25 donation per adult and $10 per child includes admission, parking, guided tours, guest speakers and a buffet luncheon. All proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. Learn more at www2.michaeljfox.org/goto/maostrenga.
The Growing Place Nursery & Flower Farm, 25w471 Plank Road, Naperville, will have a Garden Art Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 24, seven private gardens can be viewed during the Lisle Woman’s Club’s 10th annual Garden Gait at Museums of Lisle Station Park, 921 School St. Visit www.lislewomansclub.org.