Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Annuals

Guide to June Gardening (page 5 of 5)

by John R. Dunmire

June Gardening in the desert (zone 9; zone 10 areas of southern California and Arizona)

In the lower deserts of Arizona and California, June is a month of harvest rather than planting, although hot-weather annuals such as cockscomb, Madagascar periwinkle, portulaca, and annual salvias may be planted early this month for summer bloom.

Palm Planting. June is also the ideal time to plant palms: Dig a hole twice as wide as the rootball, thoroughly break up any caliche (hardpan) at the bottom of the hole, and add plenty of organic matter when backfilling. Water thoroughly, stake or guy if the palm is large, and tie up the fronds above the growing tip to protect the bud from sunburn.

Newcomers to the desert may think that the plant selection is meager. In fact, plants are being introduced every year. To see some possibilities, visit one of Arizona's great desert botanical gardens. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has attractive demonstration gardens with plants native to the region.

June Gardening in California (zones 3 to 9)

California's varied terrain offers diverse June garden scenes. On the cool north coast, fuchsias and geraniums gleam against the fog-washed green of redwoods and rhododendrons. Farther south, bougainvillea and hibiscus add dramatic color. In the Central Valley, blazingly hot but well irrigated, gardens grow with tropical exuberance.

Everywhere in the state, water districts and other public agencies, as well as landscape professionals, urge the use of plants that require little summer water. California natives, and plants from Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean, and other regions with dry summers, are coming into gardens in waves.

John R. Dunmire is encyclopedia author of the Sunset Western Garden Book and the Sunset National Garden Book (Sunset Publishing Corp., Menlo Park, CA).

Photography by Suzanne DeJohn/National Gardening Association

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