Mid-Atlantic

June, 2010
Regional Report

Share Crowded Perennials

We're finding several leafy perennials have much benefited from the spring rains. Ferns, hosta, iris, and variegated Solomon's Seal are overly abundant now, crowding less exuberant plants. We're carefully digging out the excessive clumps. Removing excess also gives the plant groups and the garden more visual definition. Amazing how friends, neighbors, local parks, and plant sales appreciate those free, hardy herbaceous plants.

There's Still Time to Plant Veggies

Most vegetables that require 90 days or less to mature are still good candidates for starting from seed directly in the garden. For example, there is still enough time for beans, beets, all sorts of greens, and squash to mature crops. For watermelons, cantaloupes, and other melons, best to buy the largest plants available. After flowering, they'll take 35 to 45 days to fruit, depending on temperature..

Deadhead and Fertilize Repeating Roses Except 'Knock Out's

Author Ellen Spector Platt assiduously deadheads to encourage more bloom on her David Austin English roses and other repeat-blooming roses, specifically 'Graham Thomas,' 'Crown Princess Margareta,' 'All the Rage' and 'New Dawn' in containers in her NYC rooftop garden. "I find deadheading extremely relaxing. Following this, a give them a good feed with an organic rose food, then I await my payback," she adds.

Clip Back Some Garden Phlox

Clip or pinch back the front stems in the clusters of Phlox paniculata. Remove 2 to 3 inches to just above a node (where leaf connects to stem). These front, now shorter stems will bush out and produce later flowers. The taller stems in the back will bloom earlier. The combination of early and late-blooming flowering stems of different sizes means you'll have more colorful flowers over a longer time, weeks after unpruned plants have given their best flush.

Repair Leaky Hoses and Faucets

Repairing a leaky hose and/or a leaking faucet may take a few more minutes than you'd like. Consider it "temporary construction for permanent improvement." Reason one. Those drips and drops mean your money is literally going down the drain. Water loss costs YOU and your community serious money. Reason two. Water is a precious, limited resource. Fresh, safe water even more so. Doing your part in conservation is just the right thing, environmentally speaking. Many times it simply involves replacing an old washer with a new one. Other times, just tightening a nut or the connection will stop the leak. More complicated leaks will likely require a plumber or skilled worker. With the high cost of water these days, any repair expense will likely be offset by a lower water bill.

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