Best ways to enhance a summer garden
It’s hot. It’s dry. Here are some quick, almost effortless tricks that will make you look like you spent hours making the summer landscape look fabulous.
- Trim annuals. This grooming tidies up the plants and boosts blooms.
- Try to turn pots weekly to ensure plants get good light exposure on all sides. This will keep plants growing evenly.
- Keep plants in containers, window boxes, and other pots routinely watered. Nothing says lush like well-watered and properly fertilized ornamental pots.
- Prune wild or straggly growth on spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac (Syringa), viburnum (Viburnum), and forsythia (Forsythia) before August 1. Pruning spring-blooming shrubs later in the season will remove next year’s flowers. Remove old stems to the base or to where a young shoot is emerging. Control size by careful and selective pruning, not just buzzing them over with a hedge trimmer.
- Weed seeds are always present and can sprout at any time. Replenish weed control with Preen to keep weed seeds from germinating in late summer and fall.
- Snip off suckers and water sprouts. Suckers grow from the base of ornamental trees; water sprouts are straight-up branches along the limbs of crabapples, ornamental pears, and other ornamental trees.
- Harvest vegetables — tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, and others — regularly from the garden. The more you harvest, the more a plant will produce, creating a verdant garden with plenty of colorful and nutritious vegetables.
- Keep the vegetable garden watered with about 1-inch of water a week in rainfall or from a hose. You will be rewarded with a good harvest of fresh vegetables.
- The last thing you want to do is break a sweat in the garden picking vegetable garden weeds. Keep weed seeds from sprouting in the vegetable garden with Preen Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer. It is 100 percent corn gluten, a natural herbicide, which is safe to use around children and pets.
- Deadhead or cut back perennials whose prime is over. Deadheading — removing the spent flowers — encourages the development of later-blooming side shoots. Salvia (Salvia), coneflower (Echinacea), bee balm (Monarda) and tickseed (Coreopsis) are among the perennials that frequently rebloom after deadheading.
- Spring and early summer blooming perennials, such as columbine (Aquilegia), lady's mantle (Alchemilla), and hardy geranium (Geranium), may begin to look shabby this time of year. Cut them back to the ground; they usually develop new leaves, forming tidy, green mounds for the remaining season.
- Reward yourself with a deserved bouquet of flowers cut from your beautiful garden.