Gardening isn’t easy. It isn’t hard, but it is work.
I think garden communicators should be more honest and open about that. After thirty plus years, gardening is fairly easy for me, but only because I know what to do, and when to do it. When I talk to my daughter, who is a new gardener, I realize how much experienced gardeners take for granted.
In this terrible summer weather, take it easy and only work in the mornings and late evenings. Mornings tend to be better here because it’s cooler, and the wind keeps the mosquitos at bay. Wear sunscreen too if you go out. No one needs skin cancer. Most of my tan is Fake Bake.
I went outside this morning and worked in the border next to the house. It’s deadheading season–time to cut back perennials and roses so they will bloom again in September and October. While I was chopping the echinacea, gaillardia, Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria Blue’ and others, I began thinking about all the little chores I do without even thinking.
You can leave perennials and and tropicals, like coleus, to do their thing naturally, but that wouldn’t be gardening. Gardening isn’t very natural. We gardeners trim things to fit our spaces.
I chopped on Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ today, for example, because I want it to stay short and shrubby instead of looking like a Dr. Seuss plant.
We water, mulch, fertilize and chop. Left to itself, the garden becomes a weedy mess, and some plants, like morning glories, take over in July and August. Even after working outside, my garden still looks crazy especially when I travel. I went to England this spring and visited Wisley, Hever Castle, the Chelsea Flower Show and Sissinghurst, along with other wonderful places. I just returned from the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Minneapolis to encounter our hottest weather of the season.
I’m just watering things and checking the irrigation system to keep everything alive. The garden is shrinking in on itself, and that’s okay as long as I remember to water. Most of the garden is on drip irrigation or soaker hose, but I still need to check on the lines to make sure it’s all watering evenly.
Speaking of water, or not watering in this case, I forgot about my small citrus trees. The ‘Meyer’ lemon was very sad yesterday with its leaves all curled up so I drenched that puppy.
When you water, make sure you soak containers until water runs out of the bottom of the pot.
I’ll be putting these citrus trees on drip before we leave again. After I gave the lemon tree a chance to recover, I repotted it today in a larger container. It was root bound which made it more susceptible to drying out. I then watered it again soaking the soil. Fortunately, it is recovering. It will lose some leaves, but will be fine. Good thing citrus are drought tolerant.
If you just started gardening this year, you might think you’re doing something wrong with your garden suffering so.
Oklahoma always gets a second spring in fall, and all will be well. Trust me. Go ahead, take a moment for that pity party, shake your fist at the weather gods, and then water everything thoroughly. Water in the morning to give plants a head start before mid-day. You may want to water containers twice, once in the morning, and once in the evening.
Don’t forget to feed those containers with an organic fertilizer. All that watering leaches fertilizer out of the pots.
I like Jobe’s organic all purpose granular fertilizer. Deadhead your perennials. Gently feed the garden by spraying it in the morning with a water soluble fertilizer like Fox Farm FX14092 Grow Big Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer NPK 6-4-4. I use an attachment similar to this Hudson 2100 Hose End 26 oz Sprayer that mixes the fertilizer with water. If you do these small things, your efforts will be rewarded in late August, September and October when gardening is fun again.
We have a lot of gardening season left. Get cracking.