Upper South

June, 2008
Regional Report

Cut Off Spring Bulb Foliage

The leaves of daffodils, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs is finally yellowing and dying down now, signaling that it has completed its task of developing next year's flowers and can be cut off at ground level. This is also a good time to dig up and either replant the bulbs now or wait until fall. Daffodils, especially, often become overcrowded, failing to produce many flowers. Digging up and replanting the bulbs and spacing them 4 to 6 inches apart will yield many more flowers over the coming years.

Use Edible Flowers

Make your salads, desserts, drinks, and herb butters a little extra special by adding some edible flowers such as chives, nasturtiums, sage, pansies, violas, calendula, lavender, roses, bee balm, or anise hyssop. Just be sure the plants have not been sprayed with a harmful pesticide. Spicy ones, like chives and nasturtiums, add both color and flavor to salads. Turn to the sweeter herbs for fresh fruit salads, cakes, or cookies, as well as fruit punches and iced tea.

Water Slowly and Deeply

If and when watering becomes necessary in parts of your garden this summer, remember that a slow, deep soaking is much more efficient than a light sprinkling. Soakers hoses are very useful for beds and borders. For individual trees or shrubs, using a "bubbler" hose attachment or letting the hose trickle around the base is best. Check at regular intervals to see how deeply moisture has penetrated. Note how long it took to reach several inches deep, then you'll know how long to water in the future.

Preserve Berries

Sure, it's great to enjoy berries fresh from the garden or farmer's market, but it's equally satisfying to have some "put by" for the rest of the year. While jams and jellies are nice, freezing berries by the dry-pack method provides the best health benefits. With this method, the fruit, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, gooseberries, and currants, is washed and dried, then packed into plastic freezer bags, sealed, labeled, and frozen. It's easy to remove whatever quantity you need, whether a handful for morning cereal or a greater quantity for a special dessert.

Keep Roses Healthy and Vigorous

By now most roses have produced their first flush of flowers. For those roses that flower throughout the summer, it's important to keep the plants healthy and vigorous. It's not as critical to remove the faded flowers from shrub roses, but with other types it helps to cut spent flowers just above a five-leaflet leaf. Fertilize roses now and use an organic mulch to maintain soil moisture, smother weeds, and keep the soil cool. Watch for pests and control them as needed. A spray made of neem, an organic insecticide and fungicide, is one of the best way to control rose pests.

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