No one wants to be the first to say it, but here we go. The Solstice was a couple weeks ago and even though the heat of the dog days is back after a little cool spell, summer is on the wane. Of course, there are still plenty of things to do in the garden-weeding, watering new trees and shrubs, weeding, dividing perennials, more weeding and watering. Not especially inspiring tasks, but so very necessary to the health of our landscapes. Why not take a little break from these mundane, summer chores and do something fun for you and your garden? Try refreshing your surroundings with a few flowering annuals. The Garden Center has some beautiful Zinnias and Sunflowers and the color is certain to boost your energy. You may find that you can pull weeds for hours.
You can give your garden borders and containers a quick update by replacing those tired looking Impatiens and Geraniums with plants that will look great now and thrive in the cooler temperatures to come. Brown Eyed Susans, annual Grasses and Amaranths can do double duty. They’ll look great for the next month or so and can bridge that gap between mid-summer and early fall. Later, you can add Pansies, Ornamental Kale and Garden Mums as the temperatures really begin to slide. And if you’d rather plant perennials, don’t forget about Asters, Toad Lilies and all of the Ornamental Grasses. They’ll be spectacular when they begin to flower at the end of the month.
Keep on deadheading those annuals. They all have a lot of flower power to show off yet. And flowering annuals are some of the few plants that you should be fertilizing this time of year. Add a dash of slow-release fertilizer to your containers and apply a water-soluble one to your bedding plants. And you shouldn’t be afraid to trim any straggly growth. There’s plenty of warm weather left to trigger a new flush of growth and blossoms.
You’ve probably cleaned up old foliage from your spring blooming tulips and daffodils, but leave it to yellow naturally on summer bulbs such as Gladiola and Lilies. This process allows the plant to develop and store energy for next year’s growth and flower buds. Of course, you all know that Lilies are perennial, but Gladiola, like Dahlias, Canna and Elephant Ears will need to be dug up right after the first frost and stored for the winter if you want to save the varieties.
Even with the recent rainfall, we are still on the dry side. And temperature forecasts are climbing a bit this week. So keep on top of watering your newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials. And if we have another prolonged dry spell, please soak your established plantings as well. Watch out for our winged friends, too. Everybody loves to run or fly through a sprinkler now and then, even the birds and butterflies. Keep those birdbaths clean and devise a watering schedule for your yard. Make these jobs part of your daily gardening routine. Then no one needs to be stressed by summer heat-not you and not your plants.