Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Calendar





I am mortified.  Here we are, well into July, and I’ve not posted the month’s instructions.  The fourth of July family reunion in the Catskill’s drove all else out of mind.  My apologies, but it’s not too late to catch up. 

The bloom trajectory continued in its aberrant pattern following last year’s devastating winter.  Yuccas, which  I have never seen bloom here have sent up huge spikes, and wispy pale pink wild roses are blooming cerise this year.
 
The occasional yucca
WEEK ONE

It’s time to cage or stake tomatoes.  If you stake them they will need to be tied periodically and trimmed.  Remove suckers or short leafy stems that sprout in the axils of the side or main stems.

Flowers will remain fresh longer if cut with a sharp tool, and if foliage is stripped from the parts that will be under water.  Let flowers stand overnight in a bucket of water before arranging. 





Be patient. Very little is in bloom, with the exception of the hydrangeas.  Don’t overlook this family.  They come to flower slowly and hold their own for weeks.  

Hydrangea nikko blue

WEEK TWO

If you missed starting annuals from seed, and didn’t have the foresight to buy flats, your last hope is the potted annual at your local nursery.  They are expensive, but if you missed the boat earlier, it’s still not too late to sail into summer.  
Patio tomatoes are not a bad idea.  If you have a sunny spot you can still pick up a few pots and have the semblance of a crop.
Instead of flowers in pots, try herbs.  Select the ones you use most frequently and pot them up in good-sized, good-looking containers. 

If you long for butterflies and nothing has worked so far, try a Buddleia.  They are foolproof.

Remove crowded plants and poor performers from window boxes and replace with fresh seedlings.

Dead heading never ends.  If you are growing weary of it look for plants that self-clean.  Impatiens and wax begonias will take care of themselves nicely.

WEEK THREE

Lay in a good supply of stakes while they are still available.  Or make your own by saving twiggy branch cuttings.  They are good for propping up billowy perennials like peonies or baptisia. 







Most flowers will need staking, but if this is not your game consider daylilies.  Blooming in July and August, they are fine on their own.  The common Tiger, or Ditch lily is my favorite.

Common tiger lilies

Set stakes early for all plants likely to need support.  Landscape –size perennials bought late in the season will need them.  Set stakes well below the top of the plants.

Keep track of summer dry spells –- when they start and how long they last.  A simple rain gauge will tell you when it’s wise to water.

Check moisture in large plant containers every three or four days.  Check hanging baskets and small pots daily.

Coralbells (heuchera) are in their second flowering.  The foliage is even better than the flowers, staying green all season.  They make an excellent edging.  

WEEK FOUR

Pick faded flowers from annuals so that they don’t form seed pods.  Seed formation drains strength and will prevent reflowering.

If you are growing dahlias and are pinching back for bigger flower heads, cease and desist by August 1.

You should be enjoying waterlilies  now.  Most do not open until  evening, but will still be open until 10 or 11 the following morning.
Local peaches are just beginning to come in.

It only takes a few hot days to make you realize you need a shade tree.  Pick your location now, decide on the tree and place your order for fall planting.

If you are using a 5-10-5 fertilizer on your perennials remember that frequent watering leaches it out of the soil and you will need to fertilize every six weeks during the growing season.

Replenish the mulch in your flower borders to keep roots cool and to maintain moisture in the upcoming dry season. 

If you have shrubs in containers and are planning a vacation,              
group them together in the shade, provide each with a good          
saucer and water thoroughly before leaving.         

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