Sum­mer To-do list

A few key chores car­ried out this sea­son will give you more bang for your buck in the flower gar­den. Keep weeds in check, stay on top of wa­ter­ing, and dead­head like it’s go­ing out of fash­ion. Or bet­ter yet – pick blooms reg­u­larly for the vase. A sum­mer bo

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - The Sum­mer Gar­den -

FLOW­ERS TO SOW • Ager­a­tum, alyssum, an­tir­rhinums,

asters, aqui­le­gias, cal­en­du­las, 'Snow­land' chrysan­the­mums, Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies, can­dytuft, car­na­tions, clarkia, cos­mos, corn­flow­ers, di­anthus, English daisies ( Bellis peren­nis), foxgloves, gaza­nias, hol­ly­hocks, lark­spurs, linum, lupins, marigolds, mignonette, phlox, Queen Anne's lace, scabiosa, snap­drag­ons, salvias, stat­ice, stock, sun­flow­ers, ver­be­nas, ver­bas­cums and zin­nias.

FLOW­ERS TO PLANT

• Seedlings: Asters, chrysan­the­mums, cos­mos, di­anthus, ev­er­last­ing daisies, gaza­nias, gera­ni­ums, ger­beras, nico­tiana (or­na­men­tal tobacco), im­pa­tiens, lark­spurs, marigolds, petunias, nas­tur­tiums, phlox, salvias and zin­nias. • Peren­ni­als: Al­stroe­me­rias, arc­to­tis, can­nas, cam­pan­u­las, daisies, di­as­cia, del­phini­ums, feli­cia, gail­lar­dia, laven­der and neme­sias.

BULBS

• Plant amaryl­lis (hip­peas­trums), colchicum (au­tumn cro­cus), cy­cla­men, hae­man­thus, lachena­lias and ner­ines. • When bearded irises fin­ish flow­er­ing, dead­head. Bend the stem in the di­rec­tion that the rhi­zome's point­ing – it'll snap off cleanly. • Lift spring bulbs once the fo­liage has died down. Store in pa­per bags in a cool, dry spot. • Di­vide daf­fodils ev­ery three to four years. Dig up the bulbs in De­cem­ber, set them aside to dry for two weeks, then re­move the off­sets.

Store in a cool, airy place be­fore re­plant­ing in au­tumn.

PRUN­ING POINT­ERS

• Cut leu­cosper­mums back rea­son­ably hard, but not into bare wood. • Trim early-flow­er­ing ram­bling roses that have done their dash for the year. • Laven­der likes a hair­cut. With­out a reg­u­lar tidy up, it ends up leggy and woody. Re­cy­cle the prun­ings as cut­tings to grow free plants. • Train climbers uch as star jasmine, with a ju­di­cious snip here and there. Keep thug­gish wis­te­ria ten­ta­cles in check with lop­pers.

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS

• Sum­mer's top job? Dead­head­ing. Cut the spent blooms off all flow­er­ing plants or they'll turn their at­ten­tion to seed pro­duc­tion in­stead of con­tin­u­ing to daz­zle. Lop the tops off all an­nu­als (ex­cept big, sin­gle-headed sun­flow­ers), dahlias, roses and peren­ni­als. Dead­head pro­mis­cu­ous seed­ers, such as false va­le­rian and aga­pan­thus, now too.

PICK FLOW­ERS TO DRY

• Helichry­sums and their ilk re­tain the best colour if picked early sum­mer.

SAVE SEED TO SOW

• The seeds of spring-flow­er­ing an­nu­als, from hon­esty to pop­pies and sweet peas, will be ripen­ing. Wait till the pods are fully dry be­fore shak­ing the seed into pa­per en­velopes to store, or scat­ter and let na­ture do the rest.

PESTS AND DIS­EASES

• Fun­gal dis­eases in­clud­ing black spot and pow­dery mildew rear their ugly heads in hu­mid sum­mer weather.

Im­proved air cir­cu­la­tion de­creases hu­mid­ity, so avoid over­crowd­ing. As soon as these dis­eases ap­pear, use a com­mer­cial spray, or make your own by di­lut­ing 1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda in 1-2 litres water. Add a squirt of deter­gent to help it stick. • Thrips can be a nui­sance for rho­dos, roses, ev­er­green vibur­nums and other plants. When in­fes­ta­tions are small, leaves take on a sil­very tinge, with speck­les. With se­vere in­fes­ta­tions, leaves may turn brown and die, and plants be­come stunted. Se­vere in­fes­ta­tions may ben­e­fit from a spray of in­sec­ti­ci­dal soap, par­tic­u­larly on the un­der­sides of the leaves, where the thrips gather. Or spray with Mavrik. Re­peat spray 10 days later. Al­ter­na­tively, to de­ter thrips, spray the leaves with water – thrips like dry con­di­tions. Keep ar­eas free from grass and weeds, where thrips may reside.

KEEP YOUR COOL

• Heat-stressed an­nu­als and peren­ni­als will stop flow­er­ing if that's what it takes to sur­vive. Water deeply once a week and lay down mulch. If nec­es­sary, cre­ate shade in your gar­den. Plant shade trees or erect tem­po­rary sun bar­ri­ers us­ing shade cloth.

“That beau­ti­ful sea­son the Sum­mer! Filled was the air with a dreamy and mag­i­cal light; and the land­scape Lay as if new cre­ated in all the fresh­ness of child­hood.” HENRYWADSWORTH LONGFEL­LOW

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