Plant fall-blooming crocus in late summer and you'll enjoy these sweet flowers just four to six weeks later. Thwart squirrels from invading your crocus planting by anchoring chicken wire firmly over the bed.
Deep blue blooms cover Blue Balloon Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Korball’) from early summer through fall. Flowers beckon all kinds of pollinators, making Blue Balloon a great addition to a wildlife garden. Deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plants grow to 30 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Trouble-free and beautiful, Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta) opens exquisite orchid-like blooms in late summer through early fall. Flowers measure 1 inch across and feature a white or lavender background with deep purple dots. On mature plants, stems are literally covered with blossoms. Toad lily spreads easily to form a colony. Site it in a shady spot (part to full shade) with moist soil. Plants grow 24 to 36 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
A fungus is the culprit behind the black spots on peaches. It’s known as peach scab, and round spots that start out small and green slowly become black and almost velvety. With heavy infections, peaches may crack or be misshapen. As with most fungal diseases, wet weather is the trigger for infection to occur. It’s okay to eat peaches with scab. Just peel the fruit and remove any soft or brown spots. To help prevent this disease, clean up all fallen leaves, twigs and fruit. Prune to open up the tree’s inner canopy and increase air flow. Check with your local extension office for fungicide spray recommendations, which should start when petals fall from flowers in spring. Peach scab also affects nectarines and apricots.