JUNE is the month I nervously prepare the garden for a public tour. Maybe my list of chores will help you get your own planted-place “visitor ready,” too:
Watering. Drought sometimes occurs this month just as everything is growing and requires steady moisture. My own policy is to water deeply, with a slow-running hose set beside small shrubs for 15 minutes; 30 minutes for medium shrubs, an hour or more for lilacs, trees and evergreens. This way watering is but a once-a-week chore.
Compost. Fork over material in your compost pit or bin and soak it thoroughly.
Container Gardens. Plants confined in hanging baskets or window boxes can’t forage for food and moisture as they would in the open garden. Thus, feed and water them daily. During hot spells, provide water twice a day.
Astilbe. Discover these fine plants with ferny foliage that sprout fragrant spires of pink, white or red in light shade; they need considerable moisture throughout the summer months.
Campanula. These blue bellflowers are lovely even in shade. Deadhead to promote continued flowering.
Chrysanthemum. Pinch top and side-growth back now and through July.
Groundcovers. Regularly weed new beds of pachysandra, vinca minor, and others. Preen, a germination-inhibitor, might reduce some of this work.
Iris. Remove at the ground line all stalks bearing faded flowers. I hope you have the reblooming types that flower again in the fall.
Peony. My early varieties like ‘Festiva Maxima’ and ‘Dutchess de Nemours’ have already flowered, but the mid-season ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ is just now opening her fragrant puffs. In bloom or not, keep peonies watered and mulched. And don’t concern yourself with ants on flower buds; they are harmless.
Primula japonica. Keep these dainty candelabras well watered, and they will bloom for you through all of June.
Roses. Enjoy them now before the Japanese Beetle makes its destructive return. If milky-spore treatments have proven ineffective or impractical where you live, and you can’t bear the presence of skeletonizing beetles, you might treat — as I presently am — your roses with Fruit Tree Spray. Applied twice monthly, this concentrate supposedly eliminates not only beetles, but red spider, rust, and black spot too. I’ll report my findings in July.
Watering. Give all food crops an inch of water per week. If Nature doesn’t provide adequate moisture, your garden hose will.
Tomatoes. Arrange wire cages, if you are using them, around plants before growth becomes too exuberant. Otherwise, tie stems to a vertical support. My own plants are happily growing up the sumac trellis I made for them. To get the best possible harvest, review my Tomato-Growing Tips.
Blueberries, Currants, Strawberries, and etc. Keep in mind that birds are interested in the ripening fruit as much you are. Better cover plants with netting.
Salad Greens. Make new sowings now. These will replace your older crops that have bolted.
Potatoes. Whenever stems reach 6 inches in length, cover all but the top 2 inches with soil, shredded leaves, or straw. New potato-bearing stolons will emerge along these covered parts.
Chives. Be sure to make my Chive Blossom Vinegar before flowers fade. You’ll be grateful for this pink, flavorful infusion when winter arrives.
Houseplants. These enjoy a summer holiday outdoors just like children do. Of course, out of doors doesn’t mean out of sight, out of mind; houseplants require plenty of attention during the warm season. I set mine in a shady, sheltered place at first. Then I gradually move the sun-loving geraniums and citrus plants like Meyer Lemon into positions of full sun. Wax begonias flourish in the light shade of a maple tree, and ferns and vines prefer even greater shadow. Wherever your plants go, make sure there is a hose nearby to make feeding and watering convenient.
Now, I’ve probably left out the one plant you wish to know about. Why not ask a question in the comments field below?
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