Bay Space Gardening Q&A: Marigolds and geraniums

Q. I’ve found that the sparrows and towhees in my garden really like to dive bomb into my Mexican marigold. I speculate if this fragrant plant has insecticidal attributes.

At times it looks like a high wind strike it, but no, just the birds shaking the branches. It is exciting to see them all lined up on the fence using turns diving into the foliage.

Ann Foster, Santa Rosa

A. All kinds of marigolds are rumored to have magical insect repelling qualities, which helps make them a well-known plant to improve among the your veggies and decorative crops.

Like most issues intended to have magic houses, there is no scientific proof this is the scenario. Having said that, there is proof that in its place of repelling pests, marigolds may possibly entice bugs, preserving your other plants reasonably pest-cost-free.

The birds love marigolds simply because they seem to have a good offer of insects for them to eat. They might also be right after the seeds the marigolds create.

It is my beloved flower to plant close to and among my tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers, but I mature them to help catch the attention of pollinators to my back garden, and simply because the marigolds prosper in the beds.

Q. I have massive galvanized buckets stuffed with geraniums. When do you prune these in my spot? How much do you reduce back?

Nancy Newton, Napa

A. It relies upon on if you have geraniums or pelargoniums.

Pelargoniums are from South Africa geraniums are a Mediterranean plant. They are related and the confusion started when plant fanciers generations in the past mistook pelargoniums as geraniums. Even while we now know the variance, we continue to primarily just phone them all geraniums mainly because it would seem less difficult — and in our gentle weather we can increase the two as perennials.

Pelargonium flowers have five petals, with the two upper petals a distinct shape and dimensions from the reduced ones. Pelargoniums are not frost hardy and can die in chilly climate.

Geranium bouquets also have 5 petals, but theirs are symmetrical. The crops create a seed pod that appears to be like one thing like a crane’s bill, offering them a different preferred name, cranesbill. They are frost hardy, going dormant in the winter season and returning to vigor in the spring. They have a tendency to have a compact sort.

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