From planting just the right thing to employing the proper watering technique, it's possible to maintain a garden right through the dog days of summer.
"There is a wonderful variety of lantana, called Samantha, that holds up very well in this heat," said Mary Ann Woodworth of Greenbrier Nursery in Evans. "It gets to be about 2 feet tall and has yellow flowers with light green veins."
An added bonus of the lantana family is that it's a diverse plant.
"You can get them in a shrub-like or a spreading variety," Woodworth said. "There's a lot of variety with lantana."
To keep hanging baskets popping with color, note that "annual zincas do really well and the purse line moss rose is wonderful," she said.
If potted plants are a part of your landscape, keeping them properly hydrated is the key to surviving the heat.
"Potted plants benefit from deeper watering, rather than short periods of watering," Woodworth said.
And there's an easy way to determine if a plant's soil is moist enough.
"Just insert your finger or a pencil about 2 inches into the soil, and if it comes out wet, the plant doesn't need to be watered," Woodworth explained.
Topiaries, often one of the more expensive types of potted arrangements, also must be watered deeply.
"When they are dry at the core, they don't come back," Woodworth said.
To make sure that plants get the most from watering, timing is very important.
"It's best to water very early in the morning, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.," Woodworth said. "That way, the plants have all day to take in the feeding."
For conserving water, homeowners have a number of options.
"Rain barrels are great," Woodworth said. "They connect to your gutter system and collect water where you have run-off from your roof."
A quarter-inch of rain falling on the average home yields a little more than 200 gallons of water.
Woodworth advises installing a cover on the barrel to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
There are even simpler ways to recycle water.
"You can use excess water that is put out for pets," Woodworth said. "You can even use the remaining water from bathing your pet to water your plants, as long as you use a gentle cleanser. And be sure to use it for your plants and not your vegetable garden. Even that hot bottle of water that's been sitting in your car doesn't have to go to waste."
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