Anne Marrison

Gardening in Langley: more water woes

Anne Marrison is happy to answer garden questions. Send them to her via amarrison@shaw.ca It helps me if you mention your city or region.

Dear Anne,

My mint plant growing in a pot in my patio in the shade has grown very tall and has a lot of small mint leaves. Last year I got big mint leaves. The top of every branch has a bushy purple flower. Should this be cut off?

Florence, Vancouver

Your mint plant has small leaves because its energy is producing flowers instead. Insufficient water may be an issue here. Mint is a water lover.

But your garden would benefit enormously if you leave the flowers on the mint. Heads of multiple small flowers are a magnet for honey bees, tiny pollinating bees and beneficial insects of all kinds. If they can’t get flower nectar they’ll starve.

Because of the drought, fewer flowers are available this year so leaving your mint flowers in place will save some little lives. Their youngsters will help seeds and crops to develop next year.

When the flowers die down, that will be the right time to cut your mint back. If we have a warm fall with some rain, you’ll get big leaves again. If the fall isn’t rainy, try to water the mint at least every other day.

Grey water is fine provided you don’t get it on the leaves. You don’t have to struggle with big buckets. Even saucepanful helps with a containerized plant.

Dear Anne,

My Asiatic double lilies are about three years old. This year the foliage started turning brown right away after they bloomed. They’re about three feet tall and looked quite unsightly. Is this a common problem? They didn’t do that in previous years. Do you think they have some disease or nutrient deficiency?”

Another puzzle – though they’re generally double, some of my Asiatic lily blooms came out as singles. Is that common?

Diana Jewell, Mission

My guess about the early-browning leaves is that your lilies are reacting to the exceptionally hot, dry weather we’ve had. Drying foliage has also happened with my native alliums – many allium leaves die back naturally when flowering starts (and sometimes before). But my Allium cernuum plants usually hold their leaves until at least early fall –  but not this year.

If just one of your double Asiatics had brown foliage but the other doubles were okay, I would suspect more severe problems.

But Asiatic lilies have been hybridized and often the hybrids have then been hybridized further with more demanding species and/or other hybrids to get even more exotic colours and shapes.

With hybrids it’s hard to know what exactly you’re dealing with because of the often-convoluted genetic background. It’s very likely your doubles are the product of more intensive hybridization than your other Asiatics

As for your double-then-single flowers on the same plants, this isn’t exactly common – but it’s not abnormal either. Some other plant families do the same thing: begonias and clematis, for example.

Dear Anne,

When can we stop fertilizing our annuals and perennials?

Terry Wong, South Burnaby

Generally fertilizer use should stop in August so that there’ll be no soft green growth to die back in winter frosts. Most annuals will be ready to die back anyway as September starts. Among perennials only autumn flowering ones are ready to keep growing and for these more fertilizer isn’t necessary.

Just Posted

Langley photographer captures otters amid the ice

While photographing winter on the river, a local photographer was there when otters caught a fish.

Why some Langley sidewalks don’t get shovelled

All walkways are not equal under rules that give priority to higher-traffic areas

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Stock trading allegations dismissed against former Langley spiritual leader

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read