Flower mania! Taken at The Bouquets to Art, de Young Museum, San Francisco
In the book, Gardening Month by Month in Northern California, Bob Tanem and Don Williamson claim that "July is the month to relax and enjoy all of your gardening efforts". I think that's true, for the most part. Everything is planted, growing and even beginning to fruit or flower. Perhaps the one thing that may not be too relaxing is all the watering. Most gardens in my area need a little extra water during these hot summer days. Especially pots, which tend to dry out more quickly due to their size. I am watering differently this summer, as I have mentioned a few times and I am beginning to see the benefit. The water in my tomato bed is turned off completely and therefore the plants rely on my once a week, very deep watering. I try to do it in the morning to avoid any mildewing. I've noticed that the base stem is more sturdy than years past and even the growth that towers over the cages seem to be strong and upright. I will continue to track this as the fruit flourishes and let you know how my study is progressing. The rest of the plants are on a drip every other day and seem to be doing fine with a deep watering (not as much water as the tomatoes) a couple times a week.
It's also a good idea to make sure you have a nice layer of mulch around the plants. You may notice your mulch is thinning in areas and will benefit from some replenishing. This will help keep the soil cool and moist as well as keep the weeds to a minimum. Lastly, its time for deadheading in order to keep your plants blooming. For example, my roses were amazing mid to late June and started to look parched and spent by early July. I pruned them back heavily almost taking every flower off. Beautiful Roses Made Easy, by Teri Dunn and Ciscoe Morris provides these five "compelling reasons to deadhead your roses as often as you can:
- It looks better. Plus you can make beautiful flower arrangements for inside or to take to friends.
- It conserves energy. Removing the rose before rose hips (its seed pod) form averts the tiring process of seed formation.
- It encourages re-flowering. The plant can now focus on flower production and thus, a longer blooming period.
- There will be a better show next year. The plant will have energy to generate new buds on stems, and new flowers for next season.
My roses line the edge of the back patio. They weren't planted in the best sun-spot, so they have to be tended to extra specially! And given a little forgiveness for some of their behaviors.
What amazes me about a rose is how it starts with this tight small bud and keep opening and opening.
I am also getting ready to fertilize again. Some say to feed a rose every six weeks. I can't maintain that schedule, but I can fertilize once in the Spring and I'll do it again shortly. Elaine, one of my Garden Gurus gave me this rose fertilizing recipe from the Mercury News. I've watched my roses get healthier each year.
Rose Fertilizer Recipe - from Livermore rosarian Dave Lowell.Dave says to use this recipe on established roses only; roses must have been planted at least six months.
1/2 cup 12-12-12 fertilizer
1/2 cup bone meal
1/2 cup sulfur (Ironite, soil sulfur or iron sulfur)
2 T Epsom Salts
1 shovelful chicken manure
Sprinkle the fertilizer, bone meal, sulfur and Epsom salts around eac plant, mixing into soil if possible. Top with chicken manure, then water in.
Rose Gardening Tip:
Its July... sit back and enjoy. And make sure to harvest your vegetables and your flowers. When I have time, I go around my yard with a basket and cut all sorts of things... not just flowers but also branches with interesting leaves. Then, I come inside, line up some clean vases and create. I don't claim to be anywhere near the florist as the people at Bouquets to Art, but its awesome to combine a bunch of things and see what you get. Much better than buying an arrangement!
Fruits Of My Labor... I mean, Flowers of My Labor