July not too early to plan for next year’s garden
by Ronella Stagner, Gardening Columnist
Jul 15, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Finally there’s time to do some of the things you thought of but just couldn’t fit everything in. There are some holes, empty spots, in the flower beds that could use a perennial or two. Maybe you could use a row of perennials or annuals as background. This is all just planning for next year. It’s a good idea to get a good photograph of every bed and make notations of any changes that you would like to make this fall or next spring. Since fall is the best time to plant perennials, you can get them on order now or wait till the garden centers get some new perennials in. Just so you will know exactly where you need a plant, why not put a marker there? Any kind of stake will do just so it’s deep enough not to be pushed over before fall.

Another good way to know where to plant some more tulips or jonquils is to put a marker where they should be planted. Now that you know where all perennials are, place a marker behind some of them so you can plant tulips or jonquils so that, when the leaves yellow after blooming next spring, the perennial will be up and growing and will hide the unsightly leaves that must be left there till they are wilted and gone.

It’s always a good idea to have current pictures of your flower beds so that you know where all flowers are. Once I had the misfortune to have a wandering sow and her pigs get into my yard and destroy every rose bush, every perennial, my beautiful white lilac, all the bulbs and some shrubs. Fortunately, when the insurance adjuster asked me if I had any proof of all the destruction, with a smirk I thought, I had current pictures of everything and also pictures of the damage just after it happened. It was the first time I had ever made such detailed pictures. I was in the process of making a notebook of my plantings. Every year I had over planted some perennials which disappear after blooming, such as Oriental Poppies and Bleeding Hearts. I had thought pictures would be a good way to remember what was planted where. Was I glad!

Two really ugly pests show up about the middle of July in some yards and gardens and both are frightening things to look at. The first is an orange colored threadlike parasite often called “love vine” and which I always heard of as “dodder”. It wraps itself around plants and literally chokes them to death. I got it once through some manure I got from a pasture. It seems to live forever and suddenly appears in your garden or yard. I called everyone I could think of to get some advise in ridding my garden of this stuff. There is no spray, no powder that kills it. You just have to sit down and pick it off, plant by plant. I worked on it every day while it grew faster than I could work. I finally got down to a grouping of asters and I gave up and pulled up the asters and burned them. Later I read that you can spray with a pre-emergent weed control in the late spring.

The second disgusting thing that you may see in your lawn is a slimy gray circle of something that looks like a big dog got very sick on your lawn. It is really horrible looking but very harmless and you can get rid of it with a good spraying with the hose.

Since watering may be your biggest labor intensive job this summer, why not make it easier? In watering trees and shrubs, big or little, why not wrap a soaker hose around them a couple of times? Just standing there with a regular hose won’t get the job done. The water must be allowed to soak in slowly. A soaker system for your flower beds might be too expensive for you but would be a really good investment.

Some perennials require more water than others and it’s a good idea to have those types separated from the ones which will tolerate some dry weather. Hostas require more water than most anything else that I have grown. I noticed that the most beautiful and largest one was just under a bird bath where it got water nearly every day. Hostas, as most of you know, like their shade. Some gardeners are successful with planting them where they get a little sun but they prefer shade.

Cannas are another plant which needs lots of water though they require not much else. They will keep blooming longer, however, if you cut off the old flowering stalk to just above the next set of leaves. Then they will start another bloom stalk there.

Right about now is the best time to dig up and divide the wonderful day lily, the most versatile plant in your garden. I love them because insects don’t like them, nothing eats up their roots, disease doesn’t get them and they couldn’t care less about the amount of sun or water and they will thrive without fertilizer. What more could you ask for? When digging and replanting, dip the root system in water and water the new hole you place them in and off they go, hardly knowing they were disturbed.

(Feel free to call me at 270-522-3632 with questions and/or suggestions or write to Ronella Stagner, 137 Main St., Cadiz, KY 42211.)
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