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Gardening 101: Adding Summer Color To Your Garden

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — When looking at ways to add summer color in your garden my thoughts go back to a visit at a California vineyard last summer. While on a family vacation we took a tour of the Benziger Ranch Vineyard in Sonoma.

The Benziger family runs an organic operation utilizing a century-old German technique of incorporating "flower oasis" spots across the vineyard. There are many other aspects to their organic technique but the flowers stuck with me. Up to then I used every bit of my garden space to things I could eat and was hesitant to give up what little growing space I had to something I couldn't bring to my table.

Why would a top shelf winery surrender valuable grow space to flowers? When you take a tour of the winery all this is explained. The 1/8 acre spots are spread across the 36 acres of vine. They are used to bring in beneficial insects to keep insect pest populations in check. I immediately though of my garden and its near complete lack of ornamental flowers. When I got home I started to plan the introduction of flowers in a few strategic places in my backyard vegetable, herb and fruit garden.

I already had herbs so I had some flowers. But when I added a butterfly garden my flower collection "blossomed". I now have three "flower oasis" spots in my small backyard and have noticed the fewer bug problems on my plants this growing season.

The story that ran highlights a mere three examples of some great summer color for your garden. I want to emphasize that there are really dozens of flowering plants you can add to your garden, TOO many to go over in one short piece on the subject. I ones I did show however are proven winners and BIG. I plan to try all three in my garden.

For a more extended list on flowers that provide summer color here is a great resource that I constantly go to. This is a list of "Superstars" in the Texas landscape. All the plants listed here are proven to perform well in our local environment and most require very little maintenance and water. I rarely buy a plant outside of this list.

There is something very satisfying of going into your backyard and seeing bees and butterflies feasting on what you have provided them. When you see a healthy population of pollinators in your yard you can be assured that your pest control population is on site and working for you. And on my table at home? Periodically, a lovely flower bouquet picked from my backyard by my wife. Love the color.

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