Mid-Atlantic

June, 2007
Regional Report

Spot-Sow Annual Flower Seeds

Selectively sow zinnias, cosmos, tithonias, strawflowers, and sunflower seeds in sunny spots among blooming or nearly blooming cutting garden flowers. Those seedlings will replenish the flowers cut for friends and for indoor decorating. Scatter foxglove seeds in shady areas (foxglove is a biennial that will grow foliage this year and flower next summer). Tuck nasturtium seeds in containers and on bed edges for colorful, edible blossoms in late July and August.

Shape Azaleas After Bloom

Next year's azalea flowers start to form buds soon after this season's blossoms wilt and turn brown. So be quick after flowering to shape and rejuvenate these evergreens and deciduous shrubs. Prune off dead branches at a branch juncture or at the shrub base. Then shorten branches and stems. Pinch growing tips to promote bushiness. Fertilize with humus or compost. Mulch with pine needles, shredded leaves, or bark mulch.

Pinch Back Herbs

Pinch rosemary, tarragon, and basil tips to promote bushiness. Remove basil flowers before they go to seed. Those white or pink/purple flowers and the blue rosemary flowers are sweet to eat -- delicious and decorative in salads or ice cubes. Shearing or pinching back oregano and thyme will also stimulate growth.

Finish Planting Shrubs and Perennials

Plant shrubs, roses, and perennials by mid-June so they have time to push new roots and shoots before summer's extremes. Come July, summer sun and intense heat will take a hard toll on brand new transplants. Water deeply -- three times at planting and once weekly till you see new growth. Mulch the root area with 3 inches of organic material such as bark mulch, root mulch, shredded leaves, or compost.

Deadhead Spring Bloomers

Clip off dead coreopsis and valerian flowers, iris stalks, tulip and daffodil stems, and spent geranium and candytuft flowers. Removing dead flowers from repeat-bloomers like coreopsis and valerian will encourage later flowering. Pruning dead flowers from once-bloomers like iris and spring bulbs will stop them from forming seeds. That redirects energy to forming next year's flowers.

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