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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

A Work in Progress

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Joyce Friels

Local Gardening


The summer season has begun and landscapes still need our attention. We have received much needed rainfall so the yards are looking green and lush. The flowers I planted in the large containers on our veranda are doing good and starting to fill out.

Keeping a landscape looking presentable is always a work in progress. Since we no longer have our pond I decided to sow annual flower seeds in that large bare area. The purpose was to make it the focal point. They are now coming up and hopefully will be allowed to put on a pretty show. However, it has become a challenge since our four-legged friends keep trekking through it!

Let’s take a look at what maintenance can keep our yards looking fresh and colorful throughout the summer and into fall. After the foliage of spring blooming bulbs has died naturally it should be cut off, covered with fresh mulch and marked so you know where the daffodils are planted! Later blooming bulbs should only have faded flower stalks removed.

Tender perennials and annuals can still be planted in beds and containers Stake or support leggy plants and pinch back chrysanthemums and asters now to encourage blooming in the fall. Lightly cut back spring-blooming perennials to get a second bloom. Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage branching. Cutting off dead flowers will help the plant focus on making more blooms. Always pinch off faded leaves of coleus and caladiums and apply a balanced fertilizer to keep their colors bright. Plant summer herbs such as basil and cilantro.

Raise the blade of the mower for summer and mow regularly. Weeds can be controlled with an organic broadleaf herbicide. Lawns need one inch of water per week during the summer months. Now is the ideal time to give your houseplants a sprucing up by trimming away dead leaves and gently cleaning dusty plants. Moving plants outdoors to a shady protected area will give them the fresh air needed to maintain their health and growth.

Water plants can be added to ponds and water features. Turn your compost pile and water it down. Keep birdbaths clean to discourage mosquitoes. Clean out bird feeders to discourage disease. Reduce fertilizing all plants as temperatures rise in the next coming weeks. Always pull any weeds before they bloom and drop their seeds!

In the vegetable garden, keep it evenly and regularly watered and pull weeds. Remove any fallen fruit or spent produce to prevent disease and pests. By continuing this light maintenance your landscape can continue to produce beautiful blooms and crops through the months of summer into fall.


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