Late June is always the pink season in my perennial gardens–the place is lousy with bergamot/beebalm (Monarda fistulosa and M. didyma, two closely related native species). Rudbeckia is showing buds, so within a week or so, there will be lots of orange to enliven the scene.
In summer my perennials and woody plants require very little work; my attention is focused on the vegetable garden. Here’s a list of things to attend to this week, in between restful sit-downs in the garden to admire your handiwork:
– keep the grass long (3″ or more) to reduce mowing times. There is no need to fertilize or water. As the weather heats up, the grass wants to go dormant, so let it.
– start to collect perennial seeds: columbine, heuchera, and other spring bloomers are ripening seeds, even as they continue to bloom
— as perennials finish blooming, leave the dead flowers on the plants. The seeds will feed the birds next winter (and you can always collect some seeds later on yourself)
– if you have not already done so, pull out early spring greens, such as arugula, spinach, and lettuce; pull out pea plants after they finish producing; compost all these plants unless they are diseased
— harvest basil and make pesto to freeze for the winter (see preceding post)
– continue to plant beans, kale, chard, and other members of the brassica clan if you have room; harvest peas, young squash, and beans before they get large and tough. Peas are finishing their brief but delicious run in my garden right now.
– continue to stake tomato plants firmly and remove all suckers
– monitor the vegetable garden carefully for pests and diseases
Happy summer weekend to all!