What I’m really doing in my garden – June 2011 edition

Snowball (L) and Doublefile (R) Viburnums in full bloom last month.

I’m a low-maintenance-type gardener, so you can bet I don’t do a lot of unnecessary fussing in the garden.  Here’s my bare-minimum list of garden chores I’m taking care of this month – the same list I send to my garden-coaching clients.

Ornamental Plants

  • Doing renewal pruning of all my full-grown viburnums – both the doublefile (V. plicatum) and snowball (V. macrocephalem) types.  By that I mean removing completely (to as close to the ground as possible) one-third of the stems, targeting the older ones for removal.  This will keep the shape natural, while preventing the unsightly drooping that results when the snowball especially gets top-heavy.
  • Weeding almost every day, though when temps are in the 90s I stop working at, oh, 8:00 a.m.  My top priority is digging out the vines.   Note – DIGGING THEM OUT, not just yanking the part that’s yankable.
  • Watering plants in pots every single day, and almost that often for newly planted or transplanted perennials and shrubs in the garden.   For more about watering, see how-to-water basics from last year.
  • Cutting back Spiderwort (Tradescantia) and Salvia to remove the dead flowers and encourage rebloom.
  • Applying deer spray to a few choice roses and conifers every other week, alternating between Liquid Fence and Deer Stopper (which smells much better) and so far, so good.
  • Removing the ratty daffodil foliage, by simply tugging.  That’s when you know they’re okay to remove it – when they’re almost done for, anyway.
  • Cutting back spireas, to varying degrees.  One bridal wreath-type had become a bit too large for its site, so I cut it waaaay back.  Hopefully it’ll rebloom, but I honestly don’t know.  Other spireas that aren’t too large, I sheer off all the spent flowers, again for the purpose of seeing them rebloom while reducing their size by just a few inches.

From left, tomatoes, squash and eggplant on my deck.

Vegetable Garden

My tiny vegetable garden is all in 10 pots on my sunny deck, and this year my summer crops are:  three cherry tomatoes, two eggplants, one squash (all purchased as “starts”), and a bunch of herbs.   I’ve already installed the vegetable cages, so what’s left to do is water daily, weed as needed, and feed every three weeks with Tomato-tone.

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