Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Chores For Continued Blooms


The July 4th holiday here in the US is a date on my calendar to get summer chores started in the garden.  Now is the time to ensure blooms continue on perennials and shrubs.  To do this I get out the hedge trimmers and pruners. 
Here are some of the plants I give a summer haircut.  By cutting them back now, the plants do not produce seeds.  Setting seeds indicates to the plants that the season is over.  I want the season to continue well into the coming months. 
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This catmint still had blooms and the bees were active.  It was getting straggly and covering up another aster. The catmint, as any plant in the mint family, can become aggressive and spread into the garden.  I have planted this in a gallon container with the bottom removed.  The roots still have garden soil to get nutrients, but the roots are more contained and cannot spread. 
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Typical of any plant in the mint family, the stem is square.  Kinda cool!


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I have asters in this bed. And I have said before, that I prefer asters to mums because they are more hardy and reliable.  Mums are considered to be ‘tender perennials’ in my Zone 6 garden.  The reason I cut back the asters  by at least a third at this time is to have the plant produce more tips and become more compact.  The more tips, the more buds will be produced for the fall bloom time. 
The Moonbeam coreopsis also shown here gets a haircut too.  Trimming the spent blooms tidies up the plant and, it too, will rebloom in a very short time. 

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This stingy mass is a native plant called spiderwort,  Tradescantia. I have several varieties of spiderwort.  Some have gold foliage with deep blue blooms, (Sweet Kate), and some have a pale purple bloom, or a pure white bloom, or a true blue blossom.
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At this mid-summer time however, spiderwort get really leggy and blooms are spent.  Cutting them back to 6” allows for the plant to produce fresh foliage will rebloom.

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Some herbs that I should have cut back sooner like this lemon thyme and lemon balm have already bloomed and unfortunately have set seed.  That will ensure an invasion of new plants where I least expect them. 
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These shrubs, the ninebark and forsythia will not rebloom this season, but they can be pruned at this time with little loss of blooms for next season.  Spring blooming shrubs should be pruned just after the blossoms fade to allow the shrub to grow new stems and set buds. 
The spirea also go a sever cutback. The spent blossoms are brown and the shrub is over grown. I do expect the spirea to rebloom later in the early fall.
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As you can see, the overgrown spirea were hiding lungwort and hosta. 
Now with the garden all tidy, I can smile and know that my job as caretaker is under control. 
Enjoy your summer, and with just a few chores, the garden will continue to bloom.
What reblooming plants do you enjoy in your garden?
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