May was a month full of activity in my garden. The beds were edged and twelve yards of mulch were carefully spread on every bed and around hundreds of perennials. June is here and it is time to deadhead the May bloomers, keep after those weeds, maintain the edging and stay vigilant for pests and disease.
Deadheading is important to keep the plant looking fresh. By removing spent blooms and stopping seed production (which is the plant’s ultimate goal), the plant will put out a fresh set of buds. Not all perennials will respond this way; plants that have flowers on one long stem generally will not re-bloom once it fades. This includes most spring bulbs as well as Irises and tall Geraniums. If given a haircut when most first blooms have faded, certain perennials with numerous small flowers will produce a second blooming . Thread leaf coreopsis are a good example of this.
Weeds, weeds and more weeds. They never seem to give up, I take a walk about the flower beds armed with my trusty weeder and a bucket, always in the lookout for those that clearly do not belong and seem to appear out of nowhere overnight. If they somehow manage to go into bloom, it just means your yard is about to be invaded.
Edging is one of those things that does not seem to stay neat and needs a pass with the pruners or edger from time to time. I am a bit obsessive about this, but it is worth it because it makes the entire bed look so much more manicured.
Remember to pinch your mums up to July 4th to promote a fuller, more compact plant with a lot more buds. I just pinch the top set of double leaves on each stem, and the stem will compensate by putting out side shoots which in turn will form their own buds. This is what growers do to make the fall mums so full of blossoms.
…”Any garden demands as much of its maker as he has to give. But I do not need to tell you, if you are a gardener, that no other undertaking will give you as great a return for the amount of effort put into it”