Gardening Tips for Early – Mid July in the Flower Garden
As the flowers of various plants fade in the flower garden, seed pods may start to appear. We must think carefully what this means, so far as the growth of the plant is concerned and the appearance of the flower garden.
It means that much of the strength of the plant will go towards the seeds, creating them. If the seed pods are allowed to remain, the plant will not continue to produce fresh flowers like it would if the seeds were promptly removed once the flowers began to fade. Therefore, all faded flowers should be cut off. We can go around every day with a pair of scissors or some other type of trimmer and cut off all the dead and very wilted flowers. Be sure to add this organic matter to your compost pile.
But, as with most everything, there are exceptions to every rule. There are a few plants that are grown for the sake of their brightly colored or beautifully shaped seed pods. Among these are the Chinese lanterns plants, what were once called winter cherry. It is a low-growing plant with white flowers that are not nearly so pretty as many others, but when the flowers have gone by, great balloon-like seed pods gradually appear. At first these are green, but in time they change to a brilliant orange-red. If they collected from the flower garden, they can be used in vases and pots in the house throughout the winter.
At this time of year, you might find a particularly fine flower blossom on some plant and want to save the seed. Tie a piece of string around the stem to identify it later and very carefully remove all the other flowers from the plant as they fade. Then, when the seed is perfectly ripe and ready, and not a day before, you may cut the stem bearing the seed and, after leaving it in a warm dry place for a few days, carefully shake out the seeds and put them away for use later. They should be kept perfectly dry.
In any case, it is a good plan to sow seed as soon as it is ready as it generally grows quicker and more surely than seed that has been kept. In the case of annuals, this may not be practical this late in the season depending upon your growing season, how long the individual plant actually takes to set seed and other factors. With perennials, you may be able to get a head start on next year by planting the seed in a protected area where it can overwinter. On the other hand there are some seeds that do not grow for a long time. And some seeds require a minimum number of hours of cold temperatures or even below freezing temperatures. You will just have to research the individual plant you have seed for to see what is practical.
If you have carnations where the calyx, the green portions that surrounds the petals, has a bad habit of splitting, try these old time fixes. First stake each individual flower stem upright so it will not bend over. And it that doesn’t work try putting tiny rubber bands around the calyx to prevent splitting.
Watering , weeding and keeping the mulch on the soil to the proper depth around your flowers, shrubs and trees should all be continued as described in other articles on our website. (Remember not to put the mulch right up to the trunk(s) of the trees and shrubs.)
Roses, as always, have something that should be done this month as well. Be on the look out for suckers. Where roses are growing on their own roots, having been reared from cuttings perhaps, there should be no suckers at all. But many roses we buy have been grafted to other root stock and sometimes this root stock will send forth suckers. Any growths from the roots or from the stem below the graft should be removed as far below the surface of the soil as possible carefully.
At this time, too, rose budding may be performed in the flower garden and it is a very interesting project. There are many points to learn and these are: the rights stage to take a bud, how to trim it, how to make the cut where the bud will be placed and where, how to insert the bud and how to secure it. We will cover this topic in gardening tips more fully at another time.