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July 12, 2001|Robert Smaus

* Green-up gardenias. Make sure gardenias are growing in full sun so they stay warm enough--they love heat and acid soil. In shady areas or during winter, the leaves may yellow and eventually fall off if the soil is too chilly.

If a plant is not doing well, try adding iron chelate to the soil and feeding with an acid-type fertilizer. Both work best in warm weather. If a plant is growing in too much shade, consider543451495 Tiny rasping insects called thrips sometimes keep buds from opening, but they can be temporarily controlled with insecticidal soap.

* Plant daisies. What would a summer be without daisies? Most kinds can still be planted, and one fun idea is to make a garden of only daisies, mixing the many kinds together, from the short (golden fleece), to the tall (rudbeckia). One of the toughest and longest-lived is the perennial echinacea, with its big, swept-back lavender-pink flowers that bloom right through summer and into fall.

* Make tomatoes fruit. If tomato flowers are not turning into fruit, they may not be getting pollinated. By vibrating their wings, bumblebees do the best job. But you can help by flicking the flowers with your fingers, or shake the plant stake or cage to loosen pollen.

The Common Ground program of Los Angeles County also suggests giving tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and squashes some supplemental magnesium to increase fruit set. It suggests dissolving one 1952539244during the growing and fruiting season.

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