Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Friday, August 08, 2008


Common Garden Petunia
(Petunia x hybrida

Very few gardeners are unaware of the common garden petunia (petunia x hybrida) with their beautiful showy, cascading trumpet shaped flowers. These plants are members of the family Solanaceae (nightshade plant) that originated in South America and are thought to be a hybridization between P. axillaris and P. integrifolia. There is a wide variety of colours available ranging from white to very deep purple and everything in between. Petunias are grown as annuals but in warmer climates they are biennials. They are a popular plant for hanging baskets and containers. Why?

The reason is quite simple. Petunias are very low maintenance plants that but on a beautiful cascading display of colour from mid-spring to first hard frost. Their only real requirement seems to be regular watering. To keep the plant looking nice, remove spent flowers by simply giving a slight tug. This will leave the seed pod intact so you can harvest the seeds. The seed pod will turn brown and open releasing very small, round, dark brown seeds. Since most petunias are hybrids the seeds may not breed true but you can get some interesting combinations and they are free plants!

Petunias are more than just a pretty flower! They are excellent companion plants for pole beans, bush beans, peas, squashes and potatoes. Pink petunias in particular will repel the Mexican bean beetle, potato bug and squash bug. I've also noticed that rabbits don't seem to bother petunias. Taking advantage of that observation I planted petunias around the entire perimeter of my legume bed and sure enough the rabbits left that bed alone. So be sure to plant pink petunias in and around these crops for a natural pest control.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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