July is the first real month of summer. This month the garden calls us to do many things. First on the to do list is to walk through your garden each morning and see what needs your attention. I enjoy a good cup of coffee and a leisurely stroll first thing in the day when I can, and the garden always holds surprises for me. Maybe it is that special plant just opening its first bloom or a little wren singing just for me. The earlier I can get out for that stroll the better. The peace of a garden at the break of dawn is food for the soul of every gardener.
One July chore I enjoy is adding new plant and gardening information to my garden journal. I quickly jot down when plants bloom, what has any insect pests, any issues with overcrowding, any disease issues, or any observation I notice that may be helpful for the future in my garden. Each year is different, and this July will be a new experience with this late spring weather and now with the humidity and storms we have experienced. It is interesting to compare older journals with the current one and see how things in the garden change every year.
Do you like to deadhead spent blooms? I do not… but it is a benefit to many plants and the chore is on my list. July is prime time to deadhead. Perennials are my main focus because you can extend that blooming season by keeping your perennials deadheaded. Most perennials will send up secondary blooms when deadheaded regularly. I can extend the bloom time by weeks in some plants. A good example of this is re-blooming daylilies. Deadhead them before they form hard seed pods on the ends of the stems and they will bloom much better. The seed pods are hard round pods as opposed to oblong bloom buds. Removing them as soon as you recognize them will promote continued blooms all summer. Many perennial Salvias will throw up a beautiful secondary flush of blooms and are easy to deadhead. Simply take a pruner and cut them back just below the spent blooms and they will begin a whole new set of flowers for you. July tips for annuals are easy and fun! Fertilizing is the main chore. I use bloom booster fertilizer this month. The middle number in the formula is higher and represents the amount of phosphorus in the formula which promotes flower production in plants. For me, the more blooms the better for all the annuals I use!
I have a couple of easy watering tips to share. Watering your gardens, including potted plants, in the morning is the best for the health of your gardens and containers. Plants wake up thirsty and are ready to drink what you give them in the morning. As for containers, if you don’t water until later in the day it can stress them to have to wait through the heat of the afternoon to get their water. Keeping plants from experiencing water stress can really increase the vigor of plant health. As a general rule most products applied to plants are more effective in the morning, including herbicides or weed killers.
Hopefully you are a morning person!! Most of my tips involve morning chores but it is cooler in July the earlier you’re up and at it.