2018, June 2018, What to do in the garden

Time to weed

As I wrote the title of this week’s blog entry, I wondered if I should change it to something more “marketable”, like “It’s Game Time”, or “Why Gardeners Drink” – some sort of click-bait. No one really wants to be told to weed when the summer is almost in full swing and there are so many other fun things to do outside.

As for me, I rather like weeding, actually. It’s pretty mindless and the garden always looks better afterwards. I know I’m not alone in these thoughts, but I also know I’m not in the majority. So my advice is this: weed NOW before things get out of control. Grass growing out of mat-forming plants like Phlox can be eradicated now, whereas in a few weeks it will have taken over and set seed. Weeds like crab grass are controllable now, but in a month or so it will have grown so much that it will form a mat that will smother the plants that you want to keep. Check out this picture. There are perennials in there, but the grass has overtaken them to the point where they will likely die.

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Sometimes the reason that we put off weeding is that we don’t really know which plants are weeds and which are not. That’s a valid excuse, if you ask me. But there is help out there. One of my favorite books is a book called Good Weed, Bad Weed by Nancy Gift. (available at Amazon) It has lots of pictures of weeds in their various stages of development and goes into how damaging they can be in the garden. It’s an excellent tool.

Other times the reason we don’t weed is because we are overwhelmed. This is understandable, but it’s only going to get worse, so I suggest this strategy: two or three times a week, do a power hour in the garden. Set yourself an hour – and ONLY an hour, this is important- and focus on weeding and weeding only. Don’t deadhead the daisies, or transplant that Daylily that you have been meaning to move, just weed. you will be amazed by how much you can do.

There is hope! Good luck, and happy weeding. It’s Game Time!

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Pruning Lilacs

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Lilacs are the NH State flower, and at the end of May, the air is thick with the scent of them. They can live a long time, but as they age, they will start to flower less and less and may need some pruning. One thing to bear in mind is that if you prune at the wrong time, you will sacrifice the next crop of flowers, since the plant won’t have time to  recover from the pruning AND create new flowers. So prune them just after they have finished blooming.

While looking around for some good lilac blooming diagrams, I found this article by Fine Gardening, which sums up the pruning process so well that, rather than re-invent the wheel, I am adding a link to it here.

Happy pruning – enjoy your renovated lilacs!

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