ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions and Answers
Q During the summer I live in an area with a very hot climate. For some time I have tried to grow geraniums, but the blooms dry up and even edges of leaves turn brown. I've tried giving them lots of water, then I've tried growing them on the dry side, but it makes no difference. A.O.K.
Geraniums are not heat lovers. They do best at temperatures ranging from 50 to 65 degrees F. at night and 65 to 75 degrees F. during the day. They like a soil that is well drained, but kept uniformly moist (never soggy). You may beat the heat by planting where they will be shaded from the afternoon sun. But you may need to resort to heat lovers such as marigolds, portulaca, salvia, and zinnias.
Q We have just moved to a property which has a small ornamental fishpond with water depth of two feet. We would like to have some waterlilies. We have been told the former owner had them, but assume they must have been brought somewhere further afield.
Could you give us some instructions for growing them, and could you tell us where they may be purchased? Local nurseries cannot help us. We live in western New York, southeast of Buffalo.
Waterlilies are supplied by specialists in water gardening. These companies also sell supplies and special items such as lily containers, pool liners, water pumps, fountains, statuary, aquatic plants, tropical fish, and many other related accessories. They will also furnish instructions on the care of the lilies and other plants, as well as information about any tropical fish they sell. For your particular location, write to: Lilypons Water Gardens, PO Box 10, Lilypons, MD 21717. Monitor readers in the South or West may want to write to: Lilypons Water Gardens, PO Box 188, Brookshire, TX 77423, or to Van Ness Water Gardens, 2460 North Euclid Ave., Upland, Calif. 91786.
Reader Comment: In one of your columns quite some time ago, you told about using eggshell water for African violets. I have found it beneficial and thought I should tell you that crushed eggshells are handy for use in transplanting boxes. We lay about 3/4 inch of them in the bottom of our ``plant packs'' (those holding about a dozen transplants) and spread soil over the crushed shells to 1/2 inch below the rim. The roots grow into eggshells, curling around the crevices. Because the eggshells are so loose when plants are lifted out, the roots can be separated easily without tearing them. We find the plants make much faster growth.
Thank you for the good tip. One other reader says she uses eggshells in the bottoms of pots. We welcome suggestions from readers. They are helpful to us all.