July Tasks and Tips in the Ornamental Garden
The month of June has been so wet that it is hard to think about watering the July garden. Weeding becomes a bigger chore as a jungle grows with all the rain. So far the garden feels like a small rainforest with some plants’ leaves looking like they are either on steroids or that they have fallen with jaundice. Hopefully all will balance out as nature has a tendency to do.
It is important to be aware of how much rain has fallen in your garden each week. A rain gauge can be very helpful when determining whether or not plants have had about an inch of water that has been absorbed deep into the soil. Spraying the leaves does not give the plants enough water to survive. It may even burn the leaves if the sun’s rays penetrate through the water drops. The best time to water is in the early morning or evening around twilight.
Deadheading can be a big July chore. Pinching or clipping dead blooms can encourage flowering later in the season. Last year I used this technique for purple coneflower and had blooms well into late September.
Cutting back spent annuals by 1/3 can also help revive the plant and make gardens appear tidy and refreshed.
Weeding, Weeding, and more weeding. Did I mention weeding? Is there a “Keep calm and weed on” sign out there somewhere? Weeding is vital to the upkeep of gardens. It’s like cleaning your house, or changing your oil. It needs to be done, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Weeds can be discouraged and may appear less and less each year.
If you know your garden, then you know your weeds and you know what they look like in all stages: seedlings, teenagers, and full bloom. Try not to reach the stage where you find yourself running out of the house and yanking them out of the bed before they drop seeds. You are doing a great job if you can get them at any of these stages! They seem to grow all at once — and again the next day! Weeding is also a great opportunity to find any pests that are hiding out in the garden!
July can be a good time to add compost and light mulch to ornamental beds; it can help them survive a drought.
If you’re constructing a To-Do List for July, you’ll find excellent help at the links below: