Summer Gardening Reminders: Timely Garden Notes from Our Experts

Summer Gardening & Projects Going Forward:

Hello again, friends! So, let's talk summer gardening projects. If you haven't filled all those holes in the garden, or you still need to dress up a few containers, you aren't too late. We still get fresh deliveries of plants every day, so come see us. It's never too late to take up a spade and get to work in the garden. On the other hand, you early birds out there may be completely finished with your planting. You may even be ready to sit back and watch it all come to life. Well, don't kick your feet up just yet. Take it from me when I say a gardener's work is never really done. Today, I'll be offering some tips and reminders for your summer gardening "to do" lists. These little tidbits will help you find the best success as we move into high summer. So, let's get started.

Espoma Organic Fertilizers, available at McArdle's

Feeding Your Plantings:

Fertilizing your gardens and containers is essential for their success. Let's begin by discussing container gardens, because they require a bit more by way of plant food. To the left, you'll see our favorite organic fertilizer. It's by Espoma, and it's available both for indoor and outdoor plantings. In your containers, you'll want to fertilize your containers every two weeks for the full length of the summer. That will ensure that you get the best bloom out of any flowering annuals. With perennials planted in the garden, your strategy will be a little different. With those, each plant has its own needs, and it's important to be attentive to each plant. For example, I feed my roses once monthly through the growing season with Rose Tone, an organic product specially formulated for roses. On the other hand, Azalea prefer a product called Holly Tone, which is formulated for their soil needs. So, please come see us with specific questions about feeding perennials.

Pruning & Dead-Heading:

These two tasks (along with weeding) are the bane of so many gardening experiences. Unfortunately, they are absolutely necessary during your summer gardening routine if you want to get the most out of your plantings. When working with annuals in containers or in ground, dead heading refers to the process of removing spent blooms from the plant. Removing those old flowers will encourage the plant to continue blooming for much longer. A well fed annual that gets regular dead-heading will bloom until frost. Some perennials take dead-heading as well. Roses and hydrangea that bloom twice in a season need dead-heading in order to encourage that second flush of blooms. Pruning more often refers to the cutting back of perennials before the next growing season. For some plants, this happens at the end of summer while for others, you'll want to prune during spring. We can certainly guide your hand in this process too.

Japanese Beetle, a Common Garden Pest

Planning for Next Year's Garden:

Let me stop you there. I know.. no, I know what you're thinking. "Next year? You can't be serious; I just finished this year's garden!" But I am serious, gravely so. Now is the perfect time to observe on how the garden is growing & developing. Take notes on what plants work well, and which did not, i.e. which plants are pushing up daisies and which plants are pushing up daisies. You can also bear in mind any changes in spacing that you need to make next year, or even later this season.  Over the years, we've shuffled our annual placement all around to accommodate ever larger perennials. Specifically, we have two white hydrangea bushes that are constantly engaging in territorial warfare with their neighbors. I digress... Anyway, there's also no time like the present to diagnose any health issues your plants might be experiencing. Maybe you have a persistent bug, or some funny looking foliage. We have the full length of summer ahead to beat back any obnoxious infestations lurking under leaves and in shadows.
So, with that in mind, keep at it! The glory of your garden is its gorgeous blooms, or its yield if you grow edibles. When we show our gardens love all summer long, they emerge more bountifully with each passing year. If you have any questions about keeping your plants happy, please call us (203-661-5600) or write to us ([email protected]), and we'll be more than happy to help. We'll look forward to seeing you!
by Justin Lievano who is likely whacking away at the plantings in his garden while you read this. 
PS, Kudos to anyone who caught the reference to the late Jim McArdle's "Timely Garden Notes" column that was published in the local paper during the 60s.

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