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Deep pink garden flowers with fuzzy leaves

Deep pink garden flowers with fuzzy leaves


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Deep pink garden flowers with fuzzy leaves grow in late April in loose, loose and stiff, stiff soil. “Stiff” may be the operative word for these trees. Dig this garden bed up and then the roots will pull the soil back into your shovel. The space behind the plant is left in the ground. Plants, of course, need soil, but they can do without staking.

The plants are tall, red-leafed, spiny mimosa. A mimosa is a member of the same tree family as a witch hazel. It flowers in late April or early May with blooms that attract many butterflies and bees. Bees use mimosa sap for food. This makes for a nice mix of flowers and food.

These plants, which are listed on the noxious weed list, are invasive. They tend to sprawl along waterways and ditch banks, out-competing native plants. They are incredibly difficult to get rid of because they root aggressively.

“It is easy for gardeners to plant mimosas in garden beds, and then be surprised at the spread of the seeds in a year or two,” says Matthew Burnett, a horticulturist with the Michigan State University Extension office in Jackson.

This particular cultivar of mimosa has been bred to bloom later in the spring than usual, but grow a lot more than most plants. It’s 3 feet tall by late August, taller than an average arborvitae. The flowers are very large and almost brick red, turning to a light red by late afternoon. The petals are large and curved, up to 1 inch long, and not red, but purple-colored in the fall.

These plants will grow in loose, loose and stiff, stiff soil in partial shade. They should not be planted in the shade of another tree, but if planted in full sun, can grow into a tree by summer. They should be watered in the early spring, when temperatures are still cool, so the roots don’t dry out.

As it turns out, their roots need a good deal of water. The roots are very shallow and need to be kept constantly moist. Make sure you don’t put water on the root crown, because it will spread the roots out in every direction and you’ll have a big plant. Make sure you don’t overwater. Plants with that much foliage are likely to rot out when they have too much water.

A problem with “Sugar Princess” mimosas is that they are salt-tolerant. They like to have lots of salt on the soil around them. The longer it is, the better for them. Salt that has worked its way into the soil is the enemy. Plant, and wait. In a couple years, cut your stems back to the original size, and salt the soil around the base of the plant. This should help control the growth.

Homegrown tomatoes from the garden of Dee Dee and Joe Cash, Ann Arbor. (Matthew D. Anderson, MLive.com)

Free produce has turned out to be a really cool idea. It’s also been kind of hard to pull off for most of us, though it’s getting easier. This summer, a number of people have created greenhouses to grow their own produce, which is free if you harvest it.

Grow’N Tomatoes, a subscription service based in Pontiac, and Eastside Community Farmers of Livonia offer ways for residents to grow their own produce and share it with others, in greenhouses that are replicating the conditions of a backyard garden.

The biggest grower for the moment is the Luther Burbank Greenhouse in Oakland County, which is open from June through October. Grow’n Tomatoes also offers a delivery service that is free to people who purchase the service.

The grower puts his plants in soil-filled pots and plants them in a greenhouse or sunroom. They’re fed every other day, according to Grow’N Tomatoes. They’re watered through the tops of the pots using “solar micropots” or glass “dehydrators” that are put in plastic bags and sun exposed. Plants are harvested when they’re ready, and the


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