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Seasonal Tips: Timely Advice to Keep Your Garden Healthy and Blooming

by Nellie Neal

On the patio or the deck, peeking out from under big trees or standing sentinel at your front door, plants in containers brighten up every summer day. Plant large pots of one or many varieties and add some organic matter to your potting soil – bigger pots with heavier soil won’t dry out as fast as small ones with light soilless mixes in them. Water as often as needed to prevent wilting, fertilize every other weekend with a flower formula you mix in water and feel free to prune lightly to shape them to your pleasure and keep the flowers coming.

More good guys

Start encouraging beneficial critters, such as birds and beneficial insects, to make your garden their home. Plant a diversity of flower colors and shapes, keep mulch around your plants and provide a water source, especially in summer. Any water feature will do, from simple misters to big ponds. Or put a pot saucer on a stand among your containers or in the garden bed and fill it when you water them.

Don’t stop now

Annual flowers in pots and beds have one goal in their short lives: to set seed for the next generation. Clip those fading flowers off before they make seed and they’ll try again. It’s hard work for the plants to keep flowering, though, so water them with a soluble fertilizer formulated for flowering each time you ‘deadhead’ the blooms. Plant heatloving varieties like vinca and zinnia after the soil is truly warmed up.

Tree troubles?

Keep an eye on trees during this season of rapid growth to prevent a few insects from becoming a munching mob. Look for webs forming around stems in the tree’s canopy – they’re full of bagworms and should be physically removed. If you see whole branches with dead leaves at midseason, check for an obvious cause – a cut or oozing at its base or a reddening of the dying leaves that indicates blight. Either way, cut the dead branch off, plus six inches of what still seems healthy. 


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