Midsummer Garden Maintenance

Most of the work in your garden is in the spring and fall.  The bulk of your pruning and planting comes then, and if you’re going to build new beds or structures, chances are the scorching July sun is not your favorite work companion in the endeavor.  Your task list in the middle of the summer tends to look a lot like “water plants.”  That doesn’t seem too bad, though, because your garden looks pretty good.  You’ve got flowers, your trees are all pretty and leafed out, and maybe you’ve got some ivy aggressively trying to strangle a fencepost.  Plus, it’s hot out there, which doesn’t make you want to run out there to do work that doesn’t seem necessary.

In many gardens, though, it is midsummer maintenance that makes the difference between a nice garden and a great garden. Proper watering is, of course, an important part of this, especially with container plants and annuals.  If you grow vegetables there is most likely harvesting to be done around this time.

For the decorative garden, though, your most important garden tool right now (other than the hose) is your trimmer of choice.  Deadheading flowers not only gets rid of spent flowers that aren’t the prettiest, but also allows the plants they’re on to get to work making more flowers.  With annuals, I generally deadhead pretty aggressively at this time of year.

You’ll also want to start eliminating annuals that have passed their season.  Even if they’re not dead, once they’ve started to look rougher than the garden around them, they’re only making things look worse.  Pull them and, so long as they are healthy (other than the whole dying thing), toss them in your compost heap.

Stake your perennials that need it, and don’t forget to fertilize.  You probably also have some plants that could stand to have dead bits removed, as well.

This sort of continual tyding of your garden really can make a huge difference, as well as giving you more regular shots at that little feeling of satisfaction that comes with beautifying your surroundings.


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