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The Garden is Green and Lush, Now What?

Tips to extend and enhance the life of the garden.

 

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

While taking pictures of a landscape may not appear to help in its maintenance, taking a few snap shots of the lawn, garden and landscaping not only provides flavorful memories from weeks of hard work, but can also help envision changes in future years. Take the pictures from different position in the yard and during varying times of day. A few strategic shots may capture the sun/shade ratio to better understand what shade tolerance current or additional plants need. Pictures of landscapes can also be used at the garden center where professionals can assist in choosing the right plants or garden products, such as fertilizer. Taking pictures often could even create a time-lapse slide show of progressive landscaping efforts to impress family and friends!

Maintaining Flower Gardens

While flowering annuals are beautiful, there is gardeners can do to help those blossoms further. In most cases, removing the flower now will direct the plant to send up more flower heads. Pinching them back could provide a more dramatic show of flowers later. Plants that respond especially well to this technique include inpatients, snapdragons and marigolds.

Many plants can have their flowering season greatly extended by simply a clean snip with good shears. When choosing where to cut, there is of course the option to cut long and take the blooms into the house, but if the cutting is purely for garden performance, take a good look at the plant. Follow the stem below the fading blossom until the point where it joins the main stem. Clip it cleanly here, taking care not to damage the stem or surrounding leaves. Some plants like geraniums make this decision easy coming off with a snap. Others like marigolds are even easier, with the entire flower head popping off in hand.

If it is the first flower on the plant, perhaps a tall zinnia or salvia, follow the main stem down until there is a set of leaves coming off. Usually this is the start of fresh branches sticking out right above these leaves on either side of the stem. Always try and cut the main stem about an inch above this point so that no damage is done to the next set of flowers.

To aid in the overall health of flowers and produce bigger blooms, consider using a specially designed fertilizer and watering it into the flower beds once a week.

Unwanted Garden Visitors

Be on the lookout for aphids. These tiny green insects suck the life out of plants. While an aphid infestation should be visible, some other tell tale signs are “sticky” stems or weak looking plants. There are many ways to combat aphids and the best recommendation is to see a specialist at the local garden shop.

Winter Moth inch worms are still very active. You can often see these worms hanging from silk-like threads. The damage is unmistakable as they will target the leaves of many trees, including maple, oak and fruit.

Weeding

Weeding - it's a necessary evil of gardening. Weeds are of course an invasive or unintentional plant that competes for nutrients and space with desirable plants. The number one key to easy weeding is to do it early and often. Just scratching the surface around a nice plant every once in a while will keep weeds that are germinating at bay. The growth of these pesky plants are discouraged when starting with a clean bed, but many enthusiastic gardeners go straight to the digging.

Besides simply pulling, digging and tugging, there are some less physical methods to dealing with weeds. First, smothering. Many weeds will succumb to a hefty layer of mulch or landscape fabric and leave just a few stragglers behind. The second choice is chemical treatments. Round Up and other brands work well to kill unsightly weeds, but there is still a dead weed to clean up eventually, and even then, weeds can become immune to the effects of chemical agents.

A few hours this weekend (between the raindrops) will make a great difference. Take some time next week to admire the hard work. The scenery is always sweeter and more beautiful when created personally.

Andrea Kelly June 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Can you tell me when to prun rose bushes and also exactly where on the stem to cut. I don't want to cut the flowers for vases, i really need to keep the bush from over growing.
Brian York June 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM
typically you can trim them at will. You should cut above the first offshoot with 5 leaves.

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