Four months of outdoor gardening remain

Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend and got to celebrate the birth of our country with family, fireworks and some time to reflect on the many sacrifices made to create and maintain our great country. We just returned from Washington D.C. and got to see Arlington Cemetery, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights and feel renewed in our commitment to this country, the responsibilities of citizenship and the many opportunities we enjoy as Americans.

We also witnessed many beautiful gardens around the capitol including the magnificent National Conservatory, the beautiful blooming lotus and water lilies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and amazing container gardens everywhere we looked. This is a neat time of year because we can really enjoy the many flowers and plants we planted earlier this season that have now grown significantly and are making a real impact. We can still plant most all container grown trees, shrubs and flowers even in our most intense summer heat as long as we commit to thorough and regular watering of newly transplanted plants. We are over 10 weeks past our last freeze and have about 16 or 17 weeks to go until out next freeze so you have about 4 months of great outdoor annual gardening left this season.

If you plant perennials, shrubs or trees you not only have 4 months but hopefully will be adding to your landscape for many years or decades of future enjoyment and beauty. Those crape myrtles that are in such spectacular flower around our state right now have to get planted some time and then they just get better each year so the sooner you plant the crape myrtles or other plants you desire the sooner they start making an impact in your yard and life. Just soak them well after planting and water again as needed until they are well established.

Mulching your new plantings and established gardens with a bark or hull mulch will dramatically reduce watering and protect your plants from temperature extremes so that they will be more prolific and productive. Mulching also dramatically reduces weed pressure and will allow more time for planting, harvesting and enjoying your garden and less time weeding.

Warm summer conditions also produce our greatest insect pressure. Be on the lookout for bagworms and webworms on your junipers and trees. The hornworms and other worms are really munching on the tomatoes, squash bugs are dinning on the squash and red spider mites are attacking many annuals and vegetables. Be prepared to take action. Take a sample of the pest or your problem to your local nurseryman for a diagnosis and they will help you select the right control for your application. Make time to enjoy the mornings and evenings in your garden as they are truly special at this time of year.

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