Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Your Garden: July

Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Your Garden: July

Article excerpt

Planting

Annuals It's not too late to sow seeds of fast-growing, heat-loving flowers such as coreopsis, cosmos, four o'clock, morning glories, portulaca, and sunflowers. Follow package directions, using extra care to ensure the soil stays thoroughly moist (but not soggy) until seeds germinate.

Flower-bed fillers Even the toughest perennials stop blooming and look stressed when daytime temperatures exceed 90° for any length of time. To keep flower beds full of color, set pots of annuals in between perennials and shrubs. Also, add containers to other parts of the garden, such as around patios and by the front door. Cut ragged-looking perennials back to within a few inches of the ground, apply mulch around plants, and water whenever the soil dries out thoroughly. Many will rebloom when cooler weather arrives.

Water garden To create a water garden, choose a large container that doesn't have a drainage hole (or plug the hole with silicone caulking) and fill it with waterloving plants such as cannas, cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalisj, chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordataj, flamingo celery (Oenanthejavanica 'Flamingo'), forget-menot (Myosotis scorpioidesj, leather leaf sedge (Carex buchtwcm/i], ragged robin (Lychnis flos-oLCuli), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'), or wild bergamot (Monarda jistulosaj. Use overturned pots to lift up the plant-filled containers so their rims sit justbelow the surf ace of the water. To control mosquitoes, add a couple of mosquito fish or Bacillus thuringi&nsis doughnuts to the water.

Maintenance

Adjust irrigation system Thunderstorms can bring too much of a good thing, leaving parts of the garden under several inches of standing water. To make sure your plants don't drown, turn off your irrigation system when storms arrive. If water remains standing for more than 24 hours, dig a small trench from the highest to the lowest point in the garden to drain off the water. …

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