Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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June Garden Maintenance

The annuals, dahlias, 16 containers and new 2016 perennial and woody plant acquisitions were largely planted in May. So, while I'm always on the lookout for new and rare plants June is the time to focus on maintenance. Not necessarily in any order of importance:

Prune crab espaliers shortly after flowering 
  • The 15' wide 'Sargent' crab espalier got pruned. If you don't get ornamental espaliers pruned soon after bloom next year's flowering will be diminished. The suckers on the 'Red Jewel' crab were removed at ground level. That will have to be done at least once more this summer. Tedious, but necessary.
When crab suckers spring up hack them down
  • Applications of Plant-Skydd are very effective in deterring deer. Now that the daylilies and roses are budded I spray those every two weeks- or else they'll end up in some deer's stomach. By the way, I learned the hard way earlier this month that whitetails love tropical hibiscus. I was soo-o-o-o mad when I saw that destruction. Now I've added that to the list of plants that need periodic Plant-Skydd applications.
  • The open silhouette of my Pinus glauca var.brevifolia nana (Japanese white pine) is no longer artistic by anyone's sensibility, least of all mine. The soft candles got pinched back by half to slow it down and tighten up its silhouette. Admittedly I'm coming to that party a few years late. Now it's always going to have huge open layers between years of growth. In horticulture we call that "character". Yeah, right.
Disbud tuberous begonias for massive blooms
  • The Blackmore & Langdon English tuberous begonias got moved up from their starting flats (that occurred in early April) to 8" pots. In a perfect world I've read they're supposed to be moved up in pot size several times throughout the growing season. That isn't going to happen. I always disbud the side female flowers and leave the large central male flower of begonias. Like peonies and dahlias, disbudding really expands the size of the remaining flower for those who want BIG!
Withering daff foliage ain't pretty, but leave it
  • Spring flowering bulb maintenance is partially complete. All daffs were deadheaded as soon as the flowers discolored. They were fed in spring when leaf tips emerged. Foliage is still green so it can't be cut yet. I lifted and pitched the tulips as I like to switch colors every year. I have to say I was pleased with the performance of the new Easy Bloom Pad bulbs I mentioned in last fall's 9.25.15 post. Those were a success.
  • The lawn is looking incredible with all the rain. After the first three mows at 2.5" I raised the mower to 3" for the summer and fall. That height does wonders for turf thickness, heat/drought tolerance and crabgrass prevention.
  • Roses have received their second feeding of Dr. Earth Bud & Bloom (3-9-4). They're smiley face happy.
Lungwort just 2 weeks after being cut back entirely
  • The spring blooming perennials have been deadheaded and/or cut back after spring bloom as per their needs. The plants I can think of that got cut back, not just deadheaded, were Nepeta (Catmint), Iberis (Candytuft) and Pulmonaria (Lungwort).
Watch out for poison ivy!
By SWMNPoliSciProject - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
  • In weeding, as always, I'm finding occasional little poison ivy seedlings. For that reason I'm always looking ahead since I don't weed with gloves. My observation is the poison ivy usually is under trees where birds have sat on a branch, passed the seeds and flown off leaving a potential dermatological disaster for the unsuspecting. 
  • Since I use Osmocote liberally in my containers at planting time maintenance is watering as needed, deadheading and enjoying from the chaise on the patio.
  • Beds are edged and the leaf mulch is down. Life is good in the garden!
Now's the time to sit back and savor those MOPs (moments of perfection) that we all garden for in the first place.


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