Clematis viticella 'Etoile Violette' 'Madame Julia Correvon'

‘Etoile Violette’ and ‘Madame Julia Correvon’

Although summer officially begins late this month on the Summer Solstice, the garden is full of blooms. I have many favorites, but Clematis offers so many choices in color, form and size, I have planted them along my backyard neighbor’s fence and planted the two Clematis viticella pictured here on a free-standing trellis in my front yard. These two vines bloom from June through July and then again in the fall if I removed the spent blooms. A native favorite is Clematis scottii, aka Sugarbowl. It rambles, has a deep blue bowl shaped blossom and blooms earlier than the pictured Clematis viticella varieties.
General Tasks

  • Continue to pull weeds before they flower and mulch to prevent new weed sprouts
  • Cover young pepper, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, and potato plants with floating row covers to keep flea beetles from chewing pinholes in the leaves
  • Water vegetables one to two inches a week
  • Fertilize trees and shrubs now. This will give new growth time to “harden” before late fall cold
  • Water lawns about every four days for a total of 1-3/4 inches per week this month. Decrease amount if weather is wet.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as lilacs, soon after they finish blooming
  • Pinch back tops of mums and asters when the stalks reach about eight inches to develop bushy plants. Repeat each time they reach that height until mid-July
  • Fertilize roses once they are in full bloom
  • Remove spent flowers. Many will bloom again with this “dead-heading”. Rose blooms should be pruned back to a set of five leaflets.

Pest Patrol

  • Look for slugs in the garden
  • Hostas are a favorite food
  • A safe and easy way to catch slugs is to sink an empty, clean tuna can into the soil near their feeding area. Fill the can with stale beer. The nocturnal slugs are attracted to the aroma and fall in overnight. On your morning garden walk, collect the dead slugs and dispose of them.
  • Slugs are also cannibals. Place a crushed (dead) slug in an area where they are feeding and dispose of the many live slugs that appear!

Herbs

  • Perennial herbs in my garden include sage, thyme, oregano and lavender
  • Italian parsley is actually a biennial, coming back a second year when it sends up a flower stalk
  • You can use the leaves of Italian parsley as it sends up the flower stalk, but when the flowers appear, the leaves become coarse and less flavorful
  • I allow one or two Italian parsley plants to ‘go to seed’, ensuring new plants the next spring
  • Annual herbs are tender, dying back after a frost. They often come up every year from seed left on mature plants the previous year.
  • My favorite annual herbs are basil, dill and cilantro
  • Basil comes in so many forms, you should pick a color or flavor that matches your intended use. I use it in pizza and marinara sauce, preferring a large Italian leaf.
  • Dill has a tendency to bolt, flowering quickly with few leaves. I use the leaves exclusively, so I like a fern-leaf variety.
  • Cilantro also bolts quickly. I’m still looking for the best variety.