Are you wondering what to do in the garden during these warm summer days? Planting and weeding are best done early in the morning, or after it cools off in the evening, but there are some jobs that can be done any time of day.
When you prune in late winter or early spring, you encourage growth; pruning this time of year slows down growth, and can be helpful if you’re trying to keep a little fruit tree in shape. Remember you can always remove dead or broken branches from any tree or shrub, anytime of the year.
Lilacs should be pruned immediately after blooming…it may be too late to prune them now if you don’t want to lose blooms next spring. If your lilac bush is neglected, though, pruning now is better than never pruning, as long as you realize that you may be cutting off some of the flower buds for next spring.
So many of you are growing vegetables and other plants in containers, we thought we’d remind you that plants in pots need more fertilizer than plants in the ground. A plant in a pot does not have as much room for it’s roots to search for nutrients, so you need to supply those nutrients. And, when it’s hot and you’re watering a lot, you are washing many nutrients out of the potting soil.
We fertilize our vegetables every couple of weeks with an all-purpose organic fertilizer. Your tomatoes and peppers will be much more productive and healthy if they are getting a fertilizer with all the minerals they need, including micro-nutrients.
Removing spent flowers is called deadheading and it makes everything look better in the garden. For some plants it has an even more important role than just cosmetic. If you deadhead Salvia ‘May Night’ and other purple salvias, they will rebloom with almost as much enthusiasm as they did the first time.
Other plants that will rebloom or continue blooming when deadheaded: Nepeta mussini; Roses; Coreopsis; Scabiosa; seed-grown Petunias; Geraniums; Snapdragons; and, Achillea (yarrow).
There are reasons not to deadhead, too. If you want to collect seed from a plant, you need the flower to stay on and mature to a seed head. If you want the plant to reseed in your garden the way cosmos can do, you need some of the flowers to stay on and mature so that they can drop the seeds for next year. Some plants bloom profusely without deadheading, including Gaillardia (blanket flower)and Knautia macedonica.
Some plants won’t rebloom no matter how often you deadhead them–poppies, for instance, and peonies. Once they’ve bloomed, that’s it. You might still want to remove the old flowers, but don’t hold out hope that they will repeat their springtime performance.
Last year I cut back Dictamnus albus (Gas Plant) because it was hiding another plant. All the information I have found says not to cut it back, that it won’t rebloom, but I did it anyway and it did rebloom! Sometimes you just have to try things for yourself.
We’re open this Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the last weekend before our July hiatus.