by Gardening Coach Susan Harris
More Pruning and Hacking Back
First, I have to confess that this photo shows how my garden looked last month. Those astilbes have turned crispy, so I removed the offending foliage altogether. The Spirea ‘Anthony Waterer’ on the right also got a haircut – to accomplish two things. It’s a tad too large for its spot along the stairs to my back yard, so it needed a trimming for safety, if nothing else. It will soon reward me with a second bloom for my efforts, and it’s a rebloom worthy of a photo of its own.
Now about the hydrangeas in the photo. These lacecap beauties took a beating over the winter (I know you all relate) and lots of branches were still lying on the ground, so I removed them altogether. That’ll help to stimulate new growth from the base that’ll soon be taking the place of the old, weighted down stems, and creating a fuller and better looking form.
More perennials getting a hair recently include Salvia and Evening Primrose, as well as the Spiderwort whose haircut you saw in this post.
Weeding Continues Unabated
Weed growth has slowed down a bit since the rains of late spring, but still the vines especially are continuing their quest to turn my garden into jungle. I’m doing a bit of weeding each morning and checking for rampant weed growth in the whole garden at least weekly. But weedless perfection is never my goal - well, unless my garden’s on a tour, in which case I DO try. (People DO notice weeds, and may conclude that the gardener didn’t care enough to make some effort.)
Watering for the Garden’s Very Survival
But more important than either of those garden chores is doing the regular watering required to keep my plants alive in this intense and rainless heat. When I had a lawn I was happy to let it go brown in the summer but I’ve always fretted over my thirstier perennials and shrubs, and absolutely anything that’s new to the garden or newly moved. By “fret” I mean water daily, in the case of those new plants. And remember, we’re not talking about the kind of light spray or misting we might give new grass seeds. We’re talking about deep watering at the base of the plant. (Here’s lots more about watering.)