Gardening: Memorial Day means it’s flower-planting time

Nancy Szerlag
Special to The Detroit News

Memorial Day signals planting time and the hunt for new garden plants begins.

If you’re still mourning the loss of the most popular bedding plant Impatiens walleriana, here’s some good news.

There’s a new intersectional impatiens called Bounce available — a cross of the classic bedding plant Impatiens walleriana and the New Guinea Impatiens that’s resistant to the dreaded disease impatiens downy mildew, and can be grown in sun or shade. The 2015 All American Selections winner ‘Bounce Pink Flame’ has proven its mettle in test gardens across the U.S., showing great weather resistance — they bounce back quickly from heat stress, hence the moniker bounce. The other benefit of this new introduction is pricing. ‘Bounce’ impatiens are available in premium six packs priced under $10, making them a more reasonable option for bedding use as well as containers.

If you love foxgloves but mourn their passing when the six- to eight-week bloom time ends, try the hot new tender perennial Digitalis hybrid, Digiplexis ‘Berry Canary’ (vivid violet and pink overtones) or ‘Illumination Flame’ (glowing fuschia transitioning to orange then pale yellow). Grown as annuals, these 2- to 3-foot stunners put a gorgeous glow in my garden from spring through frost last summer and they make lovely very long-lasting cut flowers. If you’re a cottage gardener this one is a must-have.

Geraniums are back in style, but the new Geranium Calliope ‘Crimson Fame’ is not your grandmother’s plant. A cross between a zonal and an ivy leaf variety, it has the classic look with incredible heat tolerance and the bi-colored petals glow in the garden.

Looking for elegance and flower power? The new Easy Wave ‘Velour’ Petunias are the perfect choice. These velvet-petaled petunias are mounders that reach 6 to 12 inches in height and almost 40 inches in width. Choose between burgundy, red or berry, pink with a dramatic dark throat. These well-behaved ladies need no pruning, and they make fabulously fragrant cut flowers.

Timely Tip: Got a patio party coming up? Get instant color in the landscape by popping hanging baskets of petunias out of their pots and planting them in the ground. Best done in the morning. Water the planting area and the pots the night before. Amending the planting hole and back fill soil with a top quality compost such as, OrganiMax. at a rate to 3 parts soil to 1 part compost makes a perfect mix. To keep them cranking out the color, fertilize every 10 days with Jack’s Classic Petunia FeED.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.