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Sunshine on My Shoulder

JULY IS A MONTH of independence! School is out, kids are home and vacations are in full swing! The garden is full of green and sparkles after all of spring’s preparation–or is it? When the temperature heats up, who wants to spend hours working in the hot sun? Not this reluctant gardener, for sure! I want to sit back and sip a cool libation and dream of soft sea breeze kissing my face!

Dreams are nice, but to appreciate independence there is always some work that must be done. My suggestion for this July:

1. Mow and edge the lawn weekly—set the blade a little higher now that the summer heat has set in.

2. Pull weeds as soon as they appear—a daily check of flower beds makes weeds easier to control and less likely to spread. Kids could easily be taught to make a game of this. Most weeds—win a prize!

3. Trim unruly new growth on shrubs and trees—doing this now will prevent clipping growth that may hold blooms for next spring. When fall comes around clipping should be discouraged.

4. Pinch the annuals to make them spread—blooming annuals need a little pinched off at the tip to make the plant sprout a new growth stem and not get too spindly. Also, remember to deadhead the finished blooms. Pinch them off and turn them into the soil near the plant. If they had seeds, they may come back next spring.

5. Water thoroughly at least once a week—this means the whole yard. Let the sprinkler run until you start to see a small puddle. Hopefully this will keep the lawn and the plants quenched.

6. Add some easy care bloomers—daylilies would be a great addition to any sunny spot in the yard. They are easy to care for, will multiply easily so give them space and come in a wonderful variety of colors and sizes. Plant now and watch them bloom ‘til frost sets in, and then watch them return next year.

7. Finally, to honor the summer sun, plant sunflower seeds. This is a fun project for the whole family. Purchase some small, planting containers or use an egg carton and some potting soil. Place one or two seeds in each compartment. Keep them moist and in partial sun. When the sprouted plant is 4-6 inches tall, replant in a sunny garden. About 60 days later you should have some buds and then a welcome bit of color in the garden. Seeds are edible (birds love them too). Watch the big sunflowers follow the sun!

Now, go enjoy your independence: splash in a cool pool, sip lemonade and laugh when the sunshine lands on your shoulder! Summer in the garden can be a vacation every day!

Email your gardening questions and comments to Lisa at shakeslyons@aol.com. 



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