How Green is Your June Garden

Nature is growing greener by the day- even as the azaleas fade away. There’s a certain truth about tending a garden. You can plant what you like, where you want. Care or neglect them. In the end, Mother Nature is the one in charge. She brings light, shade, water and warmth. I know I get more than I give these plants. Just the same, tending to their needs is not for the lazy.

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Box woods love a good selective pruning

Today, I took advantage of the bushy, baby box woods and gave them their first haircuts. Great video on selective pruning. June is a good time to prune, after first growth. Don’t wait till end of summer or you could freeze their nipped stems. As I dug deep and cut into the center of the bushes, the visible leaf yellowing was a quick testament to why these dense little bushes need this kind of pruning. You have to let the sun and air in to better support growth from the inside. Next step will be to clip a little more cosmetically around the bush edges.

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I finally made it to the side yard to minister to a mature stand of junipers outside the bedroom window. Their shallow roots demand periodic weeding followed by Hollytone and mulch.

The trees are ALL in need of attention.  I got more then I expected from the experience when weeding the junipers. My first tick of the season appeared late that night – embedded in my upper arm. Second trip for us to the ER in two weeks. My husband went last week. I learned how not to yank ticks out by force with tweezers- as you might leave tick pieces inside. Rub counterclockwise around the tick’s site of entry with a cotton ball soaked in soap. The weasel will back out of your body to avoid suffocating. Bag it and take it to the doctor. (Careful, mine was still alive.) Yuck. I hate those things.

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With the welcome rain come the pests- slugs and bugs. The slugs leave telltale signs on hostas as they rip and munch the leaves. The look of slug damage to a new lily confused me until I spied it sitting on the leaf. Either way, I keep a large jug of “Slug Magic” on hand. Sprinkle some around the plant in the afternoon or after rain- slugs come out at night to do their damage. When in doubt, if you suspect insects, keep a bottle of Safer insecticidal soap- all natural- soak the leaves every few days 

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The stakes are the tomato plants! Can you see the basil?

Ever heard that Italians plant flowers and food together? This year I caved into a genetic predisposition by planting tomatoes and basil in between the flowers. Why? It’s the sunniest spot, and in the middle of other plants requiring attention. I put them where I can keep an eye on them with their flowering neighbors (like baby sunflower plants).

Donovan was born in 1946 to a working-class home in Glasgow, Scotland and became a well -known singer, songwriter and guitarist. Donovan was a self-proclaimed Bohemian. I appreciate his remarks from an interview in 1965,”The way I sing my songs leads the listener into a place of introspection, a state of mind that can trigger self-healing and the kind of profound rest you cannot get from sleep alone.” I understand. It’s also why I garden. And create art. Listen for it!

Another quote from Donovan sounds lifted from today. “In the 1960s I was convinced that the world was extremely mentally ill,” he says. “No question about it: two world wars, a depression, and now the possibility of destroying the planet with nuclear bombs.” Sound familiar? I love his song. Catch the Wind.

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I’ve been steadily purging my gardens of hybrid lilies and the lily leaf beetles still return! I’ve gone way past chemical deterrents, I shot this photo just before pinching the beetle dead- you do NOT eat my flowers and live to eat another day. More here.

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Peonies incoming! What a welcome sight. The peonies are staked and ready to bloom in shades of pink, white and scarlet. The foliage of the more mature plants by the road have jumped up taller in size. Nevertheless, the younger plants in the formal garden (see inset), are closer to blooming.

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Peachy is looking for a good home! You can catch Paola Pillows here any time of day or season. Without the work!

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