Weeds, Weeds – Everywhere! – guest blogger Annette Presseau, Billerica Garden Club

In real estate we talk about first impressions all the time.  Many people when they first arrive at a house will walk around the yard – front and back – how better way to give a great first impression than have a nicely kept garden – this information is important…….Joan Parcewski, Woods Real Estate

Where did all those weeds come from?!


Weeds in the Garden.   Here in New England for June we had plenty of hot, humid weather and for July we had plenty of rain so weeds have sprouted up in the gardens.  Weeds steal moisture, nutrients and light from all your plants.  Here’s a tip: it’s much easier to pull out weeds  like dandelions, when the soil is deeply moistened so if you have had a lot of rain this past July then now’s the time to go out and pull all those weeds.  The roots will slide right out of the soil with a tug and most weeds are annuals which mean that they will pull up easily. When I look at my garden I see plenty of weeds to pull up but it’s not so much of a chore when they pull up easily.  While you’re weeding, observe what’s done well (or not); note what spots need reworking. Identify where weeds sow in madly—like the driveway, gravel surfaces, or cracks between pavers—places that probably require hours of finger-numbing work or are being left unweeded. If so decide what needs to be done to keep weeds from coming back.

GARDENS NEED AN INCH OF WATER weekly from you or the heavens. Check your rain gauge and soak beds deeply in the root zone; don’t spritz with a sprayer like you’re washing the car.  Containers, especially smallish ones in sun, need daily attention, but don’t waste precious resources on the lawn, which will bounce back when cooler, moister days return.

Garden Tours.  There are a lot of garden tours around in the month of August so start planning which garden you want to visit.  There are some great ideas out there that you can plan to work on your own garden for next year and if you are lucky the garden tour person might just give you a cutting for your own garden!

Purchasing Plants.  Believe it or not now is a great time to purchase the Perennials that you would love to add to your garden because they will start to go on sale soon so check out your local nurseries for some great deals!  The next time you are at your local nursery check out two new varieties from Proven Winners below.

Proven Winners has introduced two new varieties of Arrowwood Viburnums that only grow to 5X5, called “All That Glitters” and “All That Glows.” The reason for two different varieties is so they can cross pollinate and produce loads of the gorgeous blue berries that are so popular with birds. This is a great way to attract birds to your yard if you have a small space and this also would make an ecologically sound foundation planting.  And they are deer resistant.  I love anything deer resistant!  (I have deer in my yard.)

Shade Garden.   If you want season long garden color in part shade, look for plants with beautiful foliage that will hold its hues. Heucheras do that plus they do it in part shade and, unlike coleus, they are perennial and have flowers. What a plant!  New this year are Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn,’ which has round leaves with red centers and gorgeous gold and lime highlights. and “Paprika,’ with warm cherry coral foliage, ‘Blondie,’ a blooming machine with 8 inch creamy flower spikes rising from colorful foliage, and Huecherella ‘Sunrise Falls,’ a trailing foam flower especially for containers.

Vegetable Plants.  I decided this year that I would grow a Tomato Plant in a pot on my deck instead of trying to plant a vegetable garden and believe it or not my tomato plant is sprouting tomatoes!  I was shocked to say the least but I will have some tomatoes this year!  Yummm.  As you might have guessed I do very little vegetable gardening I do more flower gardening but thought it would be good to experiment this year.  There is nothing better than picking your own vegetables!

Does everything ripen at the same time?   It’s amazing how quickly the plants can grow and ripen all at the same time then it is what do I do with all these vegetables?  Most people can their vegetables and it’s not too difficult to do actually it is pretty simple it just takes time and patience and the bounty is great in the wintertime when snow is on the ground!  Check out this website for more information:  http://farmgal.tripod.com/index-2.html

Hydrangeas, Phloxes and Sedums.  The hydrangeas are all in bloom as well at this time of year and what a color show that they are.  There are blues, whites, reds, purples, pinks and the flowers are so huge and vibrant that one just can’t help but notice them and they are great for flower vases and even to dry them to use as a dried flower in an arrangement.  The other plant that is blooming now is the Phlox plant and the flowers are absolutely gorgeous.  Sedums are also getting ready to bloom and it is such a unique plant to watch to maturity.

Daylillies can be dug and divided as they complete their bloom cycle, right into fall, if needed.

Peonies are best divided and transplanted in late August through September, if they need it. Their “eyes” must not be buried more than an inch or two beneath the soil surface.

Roses.  Roses in the garden are always a joy to see.  In my opinion there is nothing like roses in the garden.  Something like the Double Knock Out Roses plant will bloom all summer long and bring continuous color to the garden even in August.

Digital Pictures.  Now is a great time to go out into your garden and take some pictures so that you can plan what you want to do for next year.  I often look at my garden pictures in the wintertime when it is dull and dreary and it always cheers me up.

Dried and Pressed Flowers.  Now would be a great time to pick some flowers and dry them or press them.  Pick flowers in the morning after dew has evaporated. Harvest them when they are ready to open their buds or just before they peak.  To dry the flowers just wrap a bunch together turn them upside down then hang them in a cool, dry place.  To press flowers just put some in-between some books and let them dry naturally.

Trees & Shrubs.  NO MORE FERTILIZER!  Promoting soft growth isn’t good after July, when it’s time for woody plants to start moving toward the hardening-off phase of their cycle. No more feeding until late winter or earliest spring.

TREES ARE ESPECIALLY vulnerable to drought, particularly the oldest and the youngest (those planted in the last few years). Water deeply.

ALWAYS BE on the lookout for dead, damaged, diseased wood and prune them when they are discovered.

Well, it’s time to get out in my garden and pull all those weeds and do some targeted trimming, mulching and edging—and lots of deadheading, of course.  When it comes to August we can’t start over and redo our plantings but we can do a gradual clean up and take it one step at a time and one section at a time.  Besides the visual relief, editing out the worst bits reduces hiding places for pests and disease, it’s very much worth it.

Happy gardening everyone!

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