In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
August, 2012
Regional Report

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Separate and replant crowded iris that are no longer blooming well.

Summer Cleanup Jobs Rule

My years of gardening all day long in the hot sun are long behind me. Initially, my allergies that developed after seven years in Davis and the blistering daytime heat kept me out of the garden except for early morning and late evening. When we moved back home to Pasadena, my intolerance for heat after 20 years in Davis continued to keep me gardening during milder times of the day. With piling on deep mulch all over the garden, burying 5-gallon containers into the soil where I'd grow vining and trellised deep-rooted vegetables, and stringing soaker hoses under the mulch around fruit trees and through garden beds, the garden needs only spot-watering by hand, which I can accomplish in early morning or late evening. Necessity and great irrigation techniques enable me to work less and enjoy my garden more. Success!

Rejuvenate Vegetable Plants
Prune leaves that have become ragged from age, disease, or insect attacks. Then water plants well. Healthy new leaves and blossoms will appear, and fruit set will begin again. This is especially effective with beans, cucumbers, and squash.

Iris Didn't Bloom Well?
Dig and divide bearded iris clumps if they're crowding each other or didn't bloom well last spring. Break off and discard the older central rhizomes that have no foliage. Let the young, healthy rhizomes dry out of the direct sun for several hours so a callus forms over the break before replanting it. On rhizomes with foliage, clip roots to two inches in length, remove individual dry leaves, and clip the rest to about an eight-inch fan. Dig compost and bonemeal into the top six inches of soil. Replant the rhizomes a foot apart but just deep enough to barely cover the rhizome with soil. Water them in.

Prune Excess Branches
Remove the long shoots that grow straight up from the trunk base, called suckers, or from a branch, called watersprouts. Keep tree trunks, especially those of young trees, painted with light-color, matte-finish, indoor latex paint to protect them from sunscald.

An End and A Beginning
Collect seeds from non-hybrid flowers, and sow those that are cold-hardy, such as bachelor's buttons, dianthus, Oriental poppies, and stocks. Root cuttings of azaleas, ceanothus, carnations, fuchsias, geraniums, honeysuckle, hydrangeas, English ivy, marguerites, pachysandra, roses, succulents, verbena, wisteria, and evergreens, especially arborvitae, euonymous, holly, juniper, and yew. Geraniums and impatiens make nice winter-blooming houseplants.

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