Cover Photo: Begonias with silver falls (Diophantus) at the Rosehill Gardens outdoor event space. Photo by Sue Loudon
Martin City is Blooming
By Sue Loudon
Now that people are venturing out again, Martin City is blooming! There are 33 pots of flowers on lamp posts along 135th Street. It’s a good place to get ideas for planting your own hanging basket for your deck or porch.
“They are all petunias, different varieties, but petunias,” said Eileen O’Brien, head of the Rosehill Gardens farm group that plans the planting and takes care of the pots once they are installed.
“It takes two men and a special truck to water the pots Monday, Wednesday and Friday unless we have a lot of rain,” said O’Brien, ”and it takes a real rain of several inches.”
The pots are lined with moss and have about 8 to 10 inches of dirt that the petunias are planted in.
“We use petunias because they love hot weather. Our pots have been slow growing this spring because of the cool weather,” said O’Brien. “We use a taller variety in the middle and a trailing variety around the edge of the pot. The lavender with purple veins are the Bordeaux variety.”
If a homeowner wants to plant a hanging basket for their deck or porch, O’Brien recommends petunias because of their heat tolerance and the fact they come in so many colors.
“I like the look of moss as a base better than the shredded coconut, and then you only need 4 or 5 inches of potting soil for petunias,” said O’Brien. “They do need to be watered every day, especially if it is really hot and they are in full sun.” She added that petunias are subject to bugs when the weather gets hot, especially when combined with car emissions from the street where the baskets are hanging in Martin City.
There are lots of other flowers featured in circular or cone-shaped hanging baskets and wall flower holders at Rosehill Gardens, 311 East 135th Street. Santa Cruz Sunset begonias can be grown in both sun and shade. Their vivid red-orange blossoms contrast nicely with dark foliage as they trail from a basket, different from the old standard begonias. If you want to attract birds and add more color, there are bright green and blue bird baths to hang from your deck.
Another heat-tolerant trailing plant is Silver Falls Dichondra. At Rosehill’s outdoor event space, it hangs from a large display of begonias attached to a light fixture. This outdoor space includes a waterfall and pond to provide a beautiful spot for weddings, celebrations and corporate outings as well as to inspire ideas for your own yard.