July’s Hot Time in the Summertime – guest blogger Annette Presseau

Welcome once again to guest blogger Annette Presseau from the Billerica Garden Club.   Gardening and making our homes stand out from the rest is a year round activity….  And every once and a while take a break from your garden to enjoy the Farmer’s Markets (Billerica’s Farmer’s Market is every Monday from 3pm to 7pm Rain or Shine on the lawn of the Billerica Senior Center thru October 22nd)  Joan Parcewski  Woods Real Estate 


Summer has arrived!

As I look around my flower garden I see a lot of weeding to do and usually I do this early in the morning because it is the coolest time of the day or late in the evening when things cool off I save the afternoon to be in air-conditioning!  My flowers are coming up beautifully.  In my flower garden I’m constantly changing things around especially if they are in pots sometimes it will look better in another part of my garden instead of where it is.  That’s the beauty of having plants in pots its fun to change them around the garden!


I like to check out the Farmers Markets this time of year too they have all sorts of stuff at Farmers Markets especially fresh vegetables grown by local farmers.  Now is also a good time also to check out farms in the area it is a great time to pick blueberries.  Last year I went to Parlee Farms here in Massachusetts and picked a whole bunch of blueberries and they were great so check out the farms in your area to see what fruits are ready for picking.



If you didn’t put something in place for watering like soaker hoses you need to water your plants on a regular basis.  Water deeply and thoroughly as needed this is very important if you want beautiful plants and also water first thing in the morning or late in the evening not in the middle of the day.  One of the more damaging, and wasteful, practices of summer is watering for a few minutes every few days. Light irrigation promotes a shallow root system which can easily be injured by summer drought. Apply water slowly over a longer period of time to allow the soil to be wetted to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. This will promote a deeper, more extensive, healthy root system. Physically check the soil next time you water to find out how deep you are watering. This will also help you to water less often.


Also, this is a great time to put in a water garden or even maybe just a water fountain for effect.  I usually place a small water fountain in the front of my yard and I love to watch the birds drink from it or take a bath in it.  Use your imagination it’s surprising what you can add to a garden to give it that special effect.  You can visit some botanical gardens to get some ideas.
House Plants


This is a great time to take your house plants outside and watch them grow.  I just put out a few of my house plants yesterday.  Some house plants like being outdoors just check on your particular plant to make sure it will survive outdoors.  This is also a good time to repot your houseplants and put them into bigger pots and to fertilize them.



Container gardens and Hanging Baskets

Containers and hanging baskets dry out faster than plants in the ground and require daily watering as plants grow larger and if the weather is hot and windy.

One thing to note that frequent watering to the point where water runs out of the drain holes in containers will leach out fertilizer and plants may start to have yellow or purplish foliage and fewer flowers.  It is a good idea to use a water soluble fertilizer at ½ the label rate every week to keep container gardens and hanging basket plants growing and healthy.

Flower Gardens

Annual and perennial flower plants are available at garden centers all summer and new plants can be added to fill in bare spots or add color at any time or to even replace a plant that has died.  Add compost or peat moss to planting areas to help hold water and water new plants regularly until they are established.

Deadhead large flowered plants such as geraniums, daylilies and lilies to prevent seed formation, encourage re-bloom and keep plants more attractive


Don’t allow weeds to go to seed.  Mulch will help control weeds, keeps soil cooler and add organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.


Garden beds can be edged with a sharp spade or power edger. Grass can be prevented from creeping into gardens with a carefully applied application of Roundup herbicide. Roundup will damage any green plants and needs to be applied very carefully on a calm day.


Stake tall, floppy plants such as delphiniums, balloon flower and dahlias otherwise you will not be able to enjoy the beautiful display of flowers that the plant produces.


Monitor plants for insect pests such as aphids and control large infestations with insecticidal soap.


Don’t be afraid to cut flowers for indoor bouquets and arrangements.  Cutting flowers actually encourages re-bloom in some species.


Trees and Shrubs

July is a good month to prune maples and birch and other trees that bleed when pruned in late winter.

Both evergreen and deciduous shrubs may be shaped or informally sheared to keep plants full to the center and stay within available space. Woodchip or bark mulch will help control weeds and gradually improves the soil as it breaks down.  I often see too much mulch piled up under a tree note that you only need a few inches of mulch not 12” of it if you put too much mulch it will harm the tree and will cause the bark to rot.


Garden Centers


Check garden centers for markdowns and start planning your fall garden.  You can get some great deals on perennials for next year.


Other flowers


Summer blooming perennials (like mallow hibiscus) and annuals can be induced to bloom more if you will remove flowers as they fade. The plant’s energy required to ripen seed will be then be redirected to produce new flowers for your enjoyment.

Butterfly Gardens

To attract a variety of butterflies to your garden you need a mixture of spring and summer nectar producing flowers for them to feed on. Butterflies lay their eggs on plants that the newly hatched caterpillars will eat. Here are some of the plants that butterflies like.

  • Herbs: Sage, Hyssop, Thyme, Dill*,      Catnip, Lavender, Parsley*, and Common Rue*.
  • Wildflowers: Queen Anne’s Lace*, Bee Balm,      Goldenrod, Red Clover*, Milkweed*, Purple Coneflower, and Butterfly Weed*
  • Vegetables (let flower): Cabbage*, Kale*,      and Broccoli*
  • Misc.      plants: Globe thistle, Yarrow, French      Marigolds, Sunset Cosmos, Mexican Sunflowers, Phlox, and Alfalfa*.      (*especially good)

Check for bugs


Always check to see if any bugs are on your plants especially Roses and make sure you deadhead your plants for two reasons one to promote more flowers and the other is the get rid of bugs that might be on them.


Gardens to check


Get out and check out the gardens that are in your area recently while on vacation I went to see the Botanical gardens in St. Louis, Missouri and I had a great time looking at all the flowers and plants.  In Massachusetts there is a place called “Garden In the Woods” that is a awesome place to visit so get out there and take some pictures and dream about your garden next year!


By the way July is National Ice Cream month wouldn’t it be great to have some fresh blueberries with vanilla ice cream?!


Happy Gardening!


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Free Guide About Growing Japanese Maple Tree 3Polytunnel VisionJuly’s Hot Time in the Summertime – guest blogger Annette Presseau […]


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