Maintain and Enjoy

Goldsturm coneflowers in my garden. A true carefree perennial for this area

Don’t forget to pinch or cut the flowers off your basil to keep it producing leaves that are good for cooking.

Pieris and many other shrubs are already setting their flower buds for the next bloom season. Don’t prune these plants now.

Magic lilies are a great surprise in my garden this time of the year.

For me, this is the time of the year where my maintenance mainly consists of weeding and watering. It’s really too late to prune many of our spring flowering shrubs that bloom on the stems and branches that do not appear in spring. Even many of my native azaleas have already set buds. To me, this seems early, so check your plants; if you feel they need pruning, it is too late if the buds have formed. On the other hand, watering this time of the year is a necessity on my property. While I have a sprinkler system, there are a number of plants that do not get enough water or no water, even though I have it on a regular schedule. Also a light shower is good, but in our typical late July and August heat, it will do little to provide enough water for most plants. Just remember to water deep, and spraying does little to get enough water to the roots.
One of the best things I do early in the morning or late in the afternoon is to get out, walk, and enjoy my garden. I think this might be one of the best years ever for my coneflowers and hydrangeas. My caladuims and hostas are bright lights in the shady spots of my garden. And many of my evergreen shrubs I do not grow for flowering look their best now. Also, I cannot help it, but it is a good time for me to see things I will want to repair or replant when the weather cools. Checking for scale and bugs is another thing I can’t keep myself from doing, but in this heat I will wait to treat unless it is eating or injuring the vegetables. So take a refreshment and enjoy your gardening. After all, that is the main purpose of why we garden.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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