An impressive picture from  blog-reader Kremer after my post on super-easy containers for shade.  He used the same formula–something spiky, something trailing and something in the middle to create this stunning hanging basket.

Hanging baskets are tough.    They dry out quickly.  But Kremer, who must be our Northern-most reader in Princeton  NJ, needs to elevate his flowers away from hungry ground hogs and the deer.  

Must work–his basket looks very happy.  

By the way–Kremer may live in NJ, but he has deep Southern roots.  His green thumb hails from down here…

Well done. 

Back in my North Carolina  garden–another update as the Violet Queen Zinnias start to pay off.  Love this annual which is about 44 inches tall now, branching and blooming well. 

Not nearly so impressive when I started seeds outdoors in little newspaper pots. (check out my May 14 post

My splendid zinnias had humble beginnings

Zinnias, Manos Beauty, and Celosia were my last round of seedlings and more than worth the trouble.   These plants should only look better as time goes by and will bloom right up to frost. 

Another annual from my last flat of seeds--Manos Beauty

Why did I use  newspaper pots?  Lots of heat loving annuals resent transplanting.  Transplant shock sets  seedlings back and in summer heat,  some never really recover.  But newspaper pots break down quickly, much faster than peat pots which seem to hang around forever.    And newspaper is free–It’s  my favorite way to start a late crop of seeds. 

It also helps if you stake the zinnias after transplant.  Helps get them off to a good, strong start.

So what’s paying off in your gardens?  Send us your photos–share your successes.   August is a great time to make plans for next spring and summer.  Stay cool.