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Published: Wednesday, 6/9/2010

Show state spirit in your garden

We are just weeks away from the first official day of summer — June 21 is the summer solstice. This is the perfect time to do some planting. So while you're putting your landscape plan in motion, how about adding some plants that show your true colors?

Ohio's flower

You may remember from your elementary school science fair days that Ohio's state tree is the buckeye and the state flower is the scarlet carnation. A little more trivia — the state insect is the ladybug and the state beverage is tomato juice.

To show your state pride, let's get some red into the flowerbeds and plant a tree or two. You can find the small varieties of carnations, also known as dianthus, at your favorite home and garden center.

Their colors have meaning. For example, pink carnations stand for mother's love, light red stands for admiration, and dark red blooms mean deep love. These perennials are hardy for Ohio gardens, but I hear that the red varieties start to die once they are planted over the Michigan-Ohio border. (Just kidding.)

Some dark red carnation varieties are, Cardinal, King of Black, and Red Riding Hood.

Michigan flowers

Those that show their allegiance to the maize and blue should plant their state flower. The apple blossom is the state flower, and the dwarf lake iris is the state's wildflower.

The dwarf lake iris is a threatened flower that is mainly found in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula in low, wet areas.

They don't bloom for very long and they are small, growing only about eight inches tall. Their short blooming period lasts about a week.

It might take a bit more work to grow the state's apple blossom. Apple trees are a great addition to the landscape and often add extra value to your lush landscape plan. But to keep the fruit healthy, you will have to incorporate a spraying schedule into your gardening duties.

Mama Sox flowers

You can also show your support for American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox by planting her favorite flower. We have learned that this northwest Ohio native loves sunflowers — they even are on her customized Idol Ford Fiesta. Local entrepreneur Duke Wheeler and other Bowersox fans want to get people to plant sunflowers in their yards to tell Crystal how proud they are of her.

“Let's try to get as many people as possible to plant sunflowers in their yards, so she can see them when she comes back to town for her tour in September,” says Mr. Wheeler.

Great idea! Sunflowers are easy to grow. You can find a seed packet at your favorite home and garden center. Some growers have varieties already started.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at: kheidbreder@theblade.com.



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