Author Linda Cobb
Master Gardener Linda Cobb

Linda Cobb is a garden writer and certified Master Gardener who lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is the author of My Gardener's Guide: Easy Steps to a Better Garden.

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Our Garden by Linda Cobb

Our Garden in the Summer

Find out how to fight the heat of summer and still maintain a gorgeous garden.

Now that the hot weather will be settling in, it is time to start a regular watering program for all of those container plants.  They dry out faster than anything else, as all of that air swirls around the pots.  It gets extra dry during the summer so make sure that the flower beds are getting the benefit of extra waterings.  Spend some time in the garden trimming away all of those excess spent blooms.  This will encourage new growth.  Take some of the containers and put them in your garden beds.  This will change the whole look of your garden, and you can interchange them.

As far as the roses go, it is Japanese beetle month.  They will arrive June 1, and start their chewing.  To avoid this I use Sevin, Wettable powder (WP) 50%.  This is a water soluble powder that I put in my sprayer full of water.  This is a relative of the well known Sevin dust, but just much more effective.  The 50% indicates that it is 50% stronger.  I use a tablespoon per gallon of water.  It really works, and I use it once a week on my roses.  Japanese beetles can also attack pussy willows and other shrubs in your garden.  The roses will need to be fed with some 10-10-10 with trace elements.  Use about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per plant.

The one shrub that I love in the garden is called Vitex or Chasetree.  It resembles a butterfly bush, but is not related.  It can take sun to partial shade and has long spikes of purple, pink or white in the summertime on new growth.  Hydrangeas are starting to bloom, and Annabelle is one of the first.  It is one of the most attractive hydrangeas.  Remember when you are drying hydrangeas to select the old and faded bloom, not the new bright one.  Pull off all of the leaves, plunge the stem into a vase of water, and let it sit.  The hydrangea will dry naturally.  Daylilies, hostas,coneflowers and hollyhocks are blooming now.  I am growing the new hollyhock called Queeny Purple.

Remember to feed the annuals with a little 10-10-10 with trace elements every month.  They are heavy bloomers and need to be fed regularly.  July is a time when coleus shines.  Very few things can take the heat like coleus can.  This is an annual that can really fill in the gaps in the garden bed when it is really hot.  There are many new shades and patterns available, so try some new ones.

In the vegetable garden it is harvest time for cucumbers, beans, okra, and squash. Corn needs water at two critical times.  First when the tassels show, and secondly when the silk is beginning to show on the ear.  Water especially if it is dry.

Do not forget to walk through the garden and see how things are doing.

Posted by Linda on May 26, 2005

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