July Garden Chores
by Sandra Wilson
It's getting hotter every day or so it seems. There are still some things that can be done in the garden even at this time of year. Below are a few gardening tips for those that love the summer warmth. For you who
aren't particularly appreciative of the hot hot, then do your gardening chores early in the morning.
As the flowers in your garden start to fade, you should see seed pods begin to appear. What does this mean as far as the
plant's growth is concerned? How does it affect the appearance of your garden?
It means that the plant puts most of its resources towards the seeds and creating them. If the seed pods are allowed to remain, the plant will not continue to give you flowers like it would if the seeds were removed once the flowers go by. You could end up with a garden with lots of seeds and few blooms.
This of course, depends on many factors. Therefore, faded flowers should be cut off. You can go around every day as you go about
your gardening with some type of trimmers or scissors and cut off all the dead flowers. You can add this organic matter to your compost pile.
But, there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. There are a some plants that are grown because of their colored or shaped seed pods. Among these are the Chinese lanterns plants. It is a low-growing plant with white flowers that some may think are not as pretty as many other flowers, but when the flowers have gone by, balloon-like seed pods gradually appear. At first these are green, but in time they will change to a brilliant orange-red. They can be used in vases in the house throughout the winter to brighten the decor.
At this time of year, you might find a beautiful flower on some plant in your garden and you just want to save the seed. Tie a piece of string around the stem so you can identify it later and very carefully remove the other flowers from the plant as they fade. Then, when the seed is ready, you can cut the stem bearing the seed. After leaving it in a warm dry place for a few days, carefully
separate out the seeds and put them away for another day. They should be kept perfectly dry. This is one technique towards creating your own special garden and an interesting gardening technique as well.
In some cases, it is a good plan to sow seed as soon as it is ready as it grows more quickly and more surely than seed that has been kept. For annuals, this may not be practical this late in the season. This, of course, depends upon your growing season, how long the individual plant actually takes to set seed and other factors. With perennials, you might be able to get a head start on next spring by planting the seed in a protected area for the winter. Maybe in a cold frame in a protected area. On the other hand, there are some seeds that just do not grow for a long time. Some seeds require a certain number of hours of cold temperatures or even below freezing temperatures before planting. You will have to research the individual plant you have seed from to see what is practical.
If you have carnations in your garden where the calyx has a bad habit of splitting, try these old time fixes.
That's the green portions that surrounds the petals. First stake each individual stem upright so it will not bend over. If that
doesn't work try putting tiny rubber bands around the calyx to prevent splitting. It could be fun explaining to guests your gardening technique here.
Keep watering, weeding and putting the mulch on the soil to the proper depth around your flowers, shrubs and trees as described in other articles on our website. Heed the warnings in those articles as well.
Roses have chores that should be done this month too. Be on the look out for suckers coming from the roses in your garden. Where roses grow on their own roots, maybe reared from cuttings, there should be no suckers at all. But many roses we buy have been grafted to a stronger root stock and sometimes this root stock will send out suckers. Any suckers from the roots, or from the stem below the graft, should be removed as far below the surface of the soil as possible carefully. (You may wish you could remove other suckers from your life as easily as with your gardening.)
Also, at this time, rose budding can be done. It is a very interesting project. There are many points to learn and do. These are: the right stage at which to take a bud, how to trim the bud, how to make the cut for the bud and where, how to insert the bud and how to secure it. This topic will be covered in our gardening tips more fully at another time.
© 2005, Sandra Dinkins-Wilson. Find more articles for Flower Garden Lovers at our informative website, http://flowergardenlovers.com.