Gardening tips for the start of the summer season

Different coloured big leaf hydrangeas indicate the PH levels of soil

Nancy McLeod and Olivia during the recent big plant at the Henry Road roundabout. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

Nancy McLeod and Olivia during the recent big plant at the Henry Road roundabout. (Photo by Pete Cavanaugh)

Summer has arrived in all its glory. The big plant is over and the deer think we have done a fine job supplying them with salad ingredients. Canada Day is just seven days away and Canada is a country of gardeners. With restrictions lifted, enjoy the day with your family. Bi-monthly weeding sessions have started and we welcome any new faces.

WE DIG – DO IT NOW TIPS

• Fertilize lilacs with a flowering (15-30-15) fertilizer

• Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs

• Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4 years

• Deadhead annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering

• Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom

• Deadhead and feed roses

• Water trees and shrubs. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly

• Fuchsias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold nights

• Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product. Spread ground egg shells around the vulnerable plants.

• Sow late vegetable crops. Remove decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required.

• Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks.

• Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered.

• Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply.

• Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip

• When picking berries, it is just as important to remove moldy berries as to pick the good ones.

DID YOU KNOW

Different coloured big leaf hydrangeas indicate the different PHs of your soil. Blue hydrangeas need acidic conditions with a PH less than 5.5. Pink hydrangeas need alkaline conditions and a PH higher than 5.5. White hydrangeas stay white forever and are not affected by the PH. The colour correction is not as easy as it seems as it is dependent on aluminum ion availability. Colour correction can take weeks, months or years. It is easier to change blue to pink. Plant must be at least two years old. For blue, apply 1/4 ounce of aluminum sulfate with one gallon of water. Soak ground with solution after the plant buds in the spring, repeat two times at four-week intervals. Once a year in spring apply 25-5-30 fertilizer. For pink in spring or fall, spread ground limestone (dolomite) four pounds for a 100 square foot area and water well. In spring, fertilize with 25-10-10. Use rain water when possible. Enjoy.

PICK OF THE MONTH – ABELIA

Grown for its exceptional foliage and long bloom time. It is virtually maintenance free once established. The leaves come in many colours from gold to burgundy and often change throughout the season. Fragrant flowers bloom for months making it a food source for hummingbirds and butterflies. Produces shiny evergreen leaves in colder zones. Upright arching habit two to 10 feet tall and two to eight feet wide. Needs full sun to partial shade. Blooms from spring to fall and looks best when it is allowed to retain its natural shape. Blooms on new wood. Prune in later winter or early spring before new growth.

AND – when does a caterpillar improve in morals? When he turns over a new leaf.

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