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May the fourth be with gardens
May 4 marks a milestone for me and my wife as the last Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker,” is being released straight to digital, thanks to COVID-19.
You see, in 1977, we were going to see “Smokey and the Bandit” in the theater on opening weekend, but the line was a mile long. We both were working late shifts and just wanted to see a movie, so we settled on “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.” We didn’t know what happened to the first three episodes, but after watching the movie, it didn’t matter.
On that day a long, long time ago and in a place far, far away, we were hooked on Star Wars and have been for 43 years.
So, I’m presenting plants that have a sky- or space-themed name this week. I hope you’re prepared for launch.
I’ve always liked looking up at the beauty of stars on a clear night, so the first plant I’ll tell you about is a petunia that matches that sight. Night Sky petunia is a showy, one-of-a-kind garden and landscape plant.
Night Sky has a variable white pattern on deep-purple petals that sparkle like the stars I enjoy watching in the night sky. This variety provides high garden and landscape intensity, whether grown in containers or raised landscape beds.
Remember that Night Sky, like all petunias, likes lots of sunshine and a well-drained potting mix to dazzle your landscape this summer.
Since I enjoy sky watching, I’ve always made a point of taking a peek at the numerous meteor showers that happen throughout the year. Catching glimpses of these fleeting wonders is thrilling. So, here’s a plant that is like having a meteor shower in your own landscape: Meteor Shower verbena.
This verbena is a great, full-sun plant that grows up to 30 inches tall, much taller than the spreading verbenas we’re used to. Meteor Shower verbena produces lollypop-shaped, bluish-lilac flower clusters continuously through the summer without deadheading. These blooms are held far above the dark-green foliage and seem to be suspended in midair.
The height of Meteor Showers makes this the perfect thriller plant for a combination container.
I’m going to finish today in true Star Wars fashion by telling you about Skywalker calibrachoa. This new introduction is a very pretty violet color, and it has unique, irregular streaks and mottling.
Skywalker, like all calibrachoas, should be grown in the full sun for best flowering performance. If planting in landscape beds, make sure the soil is well drained. Here is where growing your plants in raised beds or containers shines.
Calibrachoa requires little maintenance beyond feeding and watering. Deadheading is not necessary as the plants are self-cleaning. If the plants get a little unruly, simply give them a little COVID-19 haircut to keep the plant neat in appearance.
With that, let’s all continue to be safe and enjoy the perfect social distancing activity: working and enjoying your own garden and landscape during these unsettled times.
May the fourth be with you.