We are starting to get into the swing of things by June. Mowing, planting, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading and staking oh my! I hope you are not so immersed in the gardening shoulds that you are forgetting to stop and smell the flowers…literally!! Weather wise we have had a little bit of everything so far but we are fierce gardeners and are ready for anything…k maybe not anything but a lot.
It’s a jungle out there so remember to stick together (gardening clubs are good), be safe (wear a hat and sunscreen and for the love of Pete take your time when pruning if you want to keep all of your fingers),share (plants and knowledge…ok maybe not tools but the first two are enough) and above all HAVE FUN OUT THERE!! Here’s your list.
Stage 1 Water regulations are on but Mother Nature has been helpfully taking care of much of the watering in the lower mainland. Once we get into the hot part of summer though you can mow high, use a mulching blade. If you have to water do so in the early morning. Our lawns need only about 1 ½ “ of water per week. That is about 2 -30 min watering sessions for most sprinkler heads. You can also consider going ‘au naturel´ and allowing your lawn to go dormant (that’s just a nicer way of saying brown). If it’s not a heavy traffic area, it will begin to grow again once we get some cooler evenings and a bit of rain by September.
Trees and Shrubs
Mulch your trees and shrubs with composted mulch or even a green mulch aka a groundcover! Groundcover plants can help keep moisture in the soil. Remember if you have fruit trees that have a heavy crop to start thinning the fruit. Don’t be greedy, or you are going to have broken branches and bent over trees! You can remove dead, diseased or damaged branches at any time. Consider getting a tree gator if it gets hot this summer or you plan on going away for any length of time.
Dead head, mulch, fertilize and stake as needed. Don’t worry about being too perfect with your trimming. Remember to 'bee' observant in the garden. Many pollinators use the hollowed stems of perennials as nesting and a huge percentage of them are ground nesters. If you see tiny holes in the ground especially in sunny areas you would be doing a kindness by not weeding, mulching or cultivating in that area. Another funky thing you can do in the garden is put in a butterfly mud wallow, sunning rock and pollinator watering pebble tray. I know I am a bit of a plant and bug geek, but this stuff is cool!! Some great butterfly info sites are:
If you want to check out some cool information on other pollinators both Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki foundation have great info:
If you would like to add some plants, we have some great butterfly, humming bird and bee favorites still at the nursery! Watch for plant damage. Expect collateral damage in the garden and weigh your options before you spray. More often a good sharp stream from the hose will do the trick and you can pass on the chemicals especially in the case of aphids and spittle bugs. Balance.
Planters and Hanging Baskets
We have some lovelies available. It is hanging basket city in the courtyard!! Think about hanging them low in groupings using our various wall hooks and shepherds hooks. Hanging your planters lower means you can enjoy them sooner instead of looking at the bottom of the pot. Also easier to water, deadhead and fertilize…just sayin’.
If you are like me and STILL haven’t done your front planters yet - don’t fret! There are lots of choices and they are bigger and when you put them into the planter it looks like you’ve been fawning over them for months. Procrastination is sometimes awesome!! Stumped for ideas? Come and visit our creation station and we can help you!!
When it comes to keeping them looking good, remember that the growers fertilizer lightly everytime they water a basket. The plants get used to that amount of food. If they run out of food, they stop blooming... therefore, feed lightly everytime you water!
Veggie Gardens and Fruit
Keep on weeding, planting and yes…thinning. I know you don’t like to thin but you HAVE to think some of those baby carrots out to give the others room. You know who you are…THIN. YOUR. VEGGIES. We have lots of great tomatoes and fiery peppers…think salsa!! As the heat starts to hit you can think about mulching some of your beds with straw.
You will get weeds but if water is an issue especially if you have an allotment plot somewhere, a straw layer will keep the moisture in the soil. I can’t believe I already have raspberries so it looks like our harvest season will be compressed again. Check fruit often and don’t be surprised if it is about 3 weeks early…plan accordingly!!
That should do for now! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air…and fresh food too!! We are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most amazing markets and eateries!! Try something new or check out some of our farmers markets!! Think also about the critters around us and not just the cute ones either. As smart gardeners we can make a difference!!
Cheers ... Laurelle