6 - 06 - 2011
So summer is here even if it’s not June 21 - the longest day of the year. I used to say I can handle Oklahoma weather – it’s just two bad months a year – but for the last few years June is becoming the 3rd bad month…too hot for us to be outside and too hot for our plants!
I look out at all of my beautiful pots and my favorite purple cascade petunia is suffering…it won’t be long before I will pull them out and replant some hardy plants in their place –but they just won’t be the same as my faithful, fragrant petunia. Last year I tucked in some lavender shades of lantana and more purslane – they did the job no matter how hot July and August became.
So gardeners if you have finished up your planting – get at it not much time left.
Top Things to do in June
- Now is the time to really start paying attention to the watering part of your job as gardener in tune with your garden. The summer heat comes on strong in June, and hand watering your newer plantings, e.g. roses, will pay off.
- Remember to shut your sprinkler off if you receive heavy rains - we can hope this happens.
- Check out varieties of perennials at the nurseries you might not see in the spring months – verbascum, agastache, and rudbeckia – find a spot for them – they are wonderful in any garden.
- Dead head your roses, petunias, verbena, geraniums, and penta – they will reward you with fresh blossoms.
- Continue to support your roses and climbing vines – they will continue to provide vigorous growth through the summer months
- Container plantings will benefit from weekly feedings of water soluable fertilizer like Miracle Grow.
Best of the Season
Hydrangeas – the hydrangeas look especially wonderful this year. In fact I was in Dallas a few weeks ago and was struck by one beautiful yard in Highland Park; the entire property which looked to be about one acre in size was completely surrounded by endless summer hydrangeas. Unlike most of the hydrangeas in Oklahoma City, these were that beautiful shade of blue we all crave in the garden, not the pinky blue we seem to have. I’m often asked how to keep hydrangeas blue, and it’s all about the soil pH. A strong acid soil of pH 5.5 or lower will result in blue flowers while a more alkaline soil pH 6.2 and above will promote pink flowers on your hydrangeas. If you must have the blue then add garden sulfur to promote the acidic soil they need – and if you want pink and are lucky enough to have blue then use some dolomitic lime. I have never altered the pH of my soil, deciding that it is best to work with the soil I have, after all I never met a hydrangea I didn’t love.
I also get asked about pruning hydrangeas….basically don’t do it unless they get to big for the spot you have them in. Of course prune off the dead sticks in late spring if they don’t have any leaves on them, but that’s it. The older varieties of hydrangeas like Nikko Blue bloom on old growth only – so know your hydrangeas – hard to go wrong with the new repeat blooming varieties like ‘Endless Summer’.
Who wouldn’t love this pink beauty…no need to turn this blue…
If only we lived in Boston!
Don’t overlook the magnificent Oak Leaf hydrangea – blossoms the size of milk
bottles! This is one of my standby plants in a beautiful landscape. Please do not
prune this plant – the bigger the better – tall is good and natural.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -