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As a boy, my mother grew, among other things, two geraniums - Martha Washington, with a beautiful red flower and large black spots in the center, and a rose geranium, the leaf of which she put in her jelly glasses to add flavor. Where can I get these plants or seeds?
A large grower of various kinds of geraniums is Wilson Brothers (Roachdale, Ind. 46172). The catalog costs 25 cents. Incidentally, rose geranium leaves placed in the bottom of a loaf cake pan impart a delightful flavor.
We have a perennial bed, mostly of sun-loving flowers. Now the neighbors' trees shade a large part of it, beginning in early afternoon. Please tell us the names of some perennials that will grow in semi-shade. Could we plant them in the fall? Perhaps we could start seeds in our cold frame.
Among the perennials tolerating semi-shade are daylilies (Hemerocallis), Christmas rose (Helleborus), bleeding heart (Dicentra), painted daisy (Pyrethrum), purple loosestrife (Lythrum), monarda (bee balm), coralbell (Heuchera), and several of the campanulas. You could sow any of these in August and leave them in your cold frame until spring. Many seed catalogs list them. Root divisions and potted specimens of these and others are offered by many nursery centers and through fall catalogs.
At a flea market recently I saw some lovely stationary made with real flowers that had been pressed. The paper and pressed flowers appeared to be covered with a clear adhesive covering. Where could one obtain these clear plastic adhesive sheets and how are the pressed flowers attached to the stationary? Also, when is a good time to gather flowers to be pressed?
Fortunately, there is a transparent contact paper available in department stores, dime stores, and at craft shops. Formerly one had to press wax paper over the pasted-on flowers and stationary with a warm iron. It is a good idea to add a tiny drop of glue to the backs of the flowers and secure them to the paper before applying the contact paper. Collect garden flowers, weeds, and grasses when they are free of moisture. Press between pages of a catalog or telephone book.
Our hanging baskets of petunias were beautiful, but now they look scrawny with blooms only on the tip ends. Would some fertilizer help make them bloom more? If so, what kind and how much?
Petunias should be pinched back in midsummer, or as soon as they begin to get lanky. Use hedge shears or grass shears and snip them right back to about 4 or 5 inches. They will soon be full of blooms. A liquid plant food applied at half strength is a good idea at this time. Read the directions on the label and then reduce to half.
How can I discourage a neighbor's cat from using my garden for a playpen and toilet? Fencing is impractical and polite conversation has brought no results.
There is a hot pepper repellent put out by the Miller Chemical Company (Box 333, Hanover, Pa. 17331) that is proving to be very effective in repelling all kinds of animals. It is sprayed on plants or on areas that you want to keep animals away from. It is nontoxic and usually animals pick up the scent some distance away. Some folks use rags dipped in ammonia, but it evaporates too quickly. Others use rope dipped in creosote, but we find the hot pepper most effective.
We want to thank you for alerting us to the hazard of leaving peat pots on plants when setting them in the ground. This year we peeled away the peat pot before putting tomatoes in the ground, and what a difference! They are twice as tall as they were at this time last year, and we're sure we won't be disappointed in the crop, as we were last summer.
Thank you for your letter. We're always glad to be of help.