"It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes
And pleasant scents the noses."
~ Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Month of June
It seems that April and May came and went in a blink of an eye. This spring has been a busy one and the newsletter was left at the bottom of our priority list. Now, in the early days of summer we can take a brief pause from the store and recommence this newsletter. Many maintain the miss-held belief that once the heat of June begins the planting season is over. This is not true. Annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs can all be planted this month and we have a wide selection. June is a great time to plant, particularly perennials. June is National Perennial Garden month. The diversity of blooming and foliage perennials growing and thriving in June make this month one filled with garden delights. Sunshine and warm weather are required for our gardens to grow and as we enjoy our gardens we must also take care of them and ourselves, especially during hot weather. Read below for our recommended June garden chores and tips on staying cool this summer.
The last couple of weeks has seen the emergence of Brood X cicadas. Yes, they are noisy and walking barefoot on your lawn may not be the best idea right now, but generally cicadas are relatively harmless, unless one flies into your eye. They are not known for their flying skills. Soon this brood will be gone and we will not see them again for seventeen years. Try to appreciate them while they are here. OSU extension agent Joe Boggs wrote a helpful article about our cicada visitors with tips and links to some rockin' cicada-themed songs. The music links are definitely worth your time. The summer solstice is Sunday, June 20 at 11:32 pm EDT, why not celebrate with some great cicada music while enjoying a cold drink and watching lightning bugs light-up the night.
Your Friends at JF&GC
Perennial Plant of the Year 2021
The Perennial Plant Association named Calamintha nepeta as the 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year. This low-maintenance perennial has a mounding habit that is covered with tiny white flowers early summer through frost. Also known as Lesser Catmint, calamintha nepeta is fragrant and attracts pollinators. Reaching 18" tall and wide and requiring full sun; it works well in mixed beds, edging, herb gardens, and rock gardens. These tough plants can be sheared to create a tidier plant.
Proven Winners 2021 Plants of the Year
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com.
The Proven Winners Plants of the Year are 'Cat's Pajamas' Nepeta ", Shadowland® ‘Wheee!’
Hosta, and ‘Pugster Blue’ Buddleia.
'Cat's Pajamas' nepeta is a fragrant, long blooming, and reblooming perennial. This hardy performer is heat and drought tolerant once established. It attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds while deterring rabbits and deer. The low mounding growth habit reaches 12-14" tall and 18-20" wide.
Shadowland® ‘Wheee!’ hosta has lovely ruffled green leaves that are edged in cream. Light lavander flower spikes appear in early summer. It requires part shade to shade and well-draining soil. 'Wheee!' reaches 11-18" tall and 28-30" wide.
‘Pugster Blue’ buddleia is a great choice for smaller gardens or when a full-sized butterfly bush is too large. This dwarf flowering shrub grows 24" tall by 24-36" wide in full sun. It offers full-sized flowers on a dwarf shrub.
June in the Garden
Check hanging baskets and porch pots daily to see if they need watering. If you cannot tell by sight use the finger test to learn if your plant needs water. Place a finger into the pot's soil up to your second knuckle. If the soil is moist do not water, if it is dry water the plant until water drains through the pot's drainage holes.
If your annuals become "leggy" don't hesitate to give them a trim. Pruning stems one-third to half-way back will force the plant to regrow and continue to flower.
Fertilize annuals every week or two depending on which fertilizer you use. Make sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer's label. Doubling the recommended dose will not necessarily double the amount of blooms, most likely it will "burn" the plant resulting in fewer blooms.
Plant additional green beans, summer squash, bush beans, lettuce, carrots, and sweet corn in mid-June to extend your growing season and harvest.
Tomatoes and peppers are two of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. Plant seedlings in 5-gallon containers that have drainage holes. These containers should be large enough that you may insert a trellis to support your plant if necessary. Some of are favorite tomato varieties include 'Early Girl', 'Old German', and 'Mountain Fresh'. 'Anaheim', 'Hungarian Yellow Wax', and 'California Wonder' are three great pepper varieties. Zucchini, summer squash, and bush cucumbers also grow well in containers.
Fertilize with vegetable specific fertilizers. A favorite vegetable fertilizer that we use at the store is Tomato-Tone by Espoma.
Support your tomatoes. Trellising or staking tomatoes can help plants increase yield, decrease the chances of blight, and maximize growing space. Many vegetables do well being trellised, including cucumbers, zucchini, and muskmelon.
Continue harvesting cool weather crops, such as radishes, carrots, and lettuce. Start planning a July planting for fall crops.
Perennials, Trees, and Shrubs
Stake or trellis tall perennials. Tall garden phlox, goldenrod, and Joe Pye Weed will appreciate the additional support. Fertilize roses with rose specific fertilizers.
Prune. Prune shrubs that bloom on old wood after they are finished flowering, such as lilacs, forsythias, and rhododendrons. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves, flower stalks, or limbs. If you believe that your plant may have a disease make sure to remove any infected leaves and limbs and throw them away. If your evergreen trees and shrubs need to be pruned back you may continue to do so into early summer. Prune back hardy mums and asters by mid-June to encourage fall blooms.
Mulch. A healthy level of mulch around plants will not only help reduce weeds, but will also reduce the amount of water plants lose through evaporation.
Pay extra attention to new plantings. Your new shrub may be considered "drought resistant", but it must first become acclimated to its new habitat. Make sure to water accordingly depending on weather.
Regularly inspect plants for insect damage and react accordingly. Many insect pests can be removed by hand or with a strong spray of water.
Stay on top of weeding. It is easier to pull one or two weeds every other day, rather than letting them grow and then having to spend a weekend weeding.
Keep mosquitoes at bay by making sure there is no standing water near your house. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in just an inch of standing water. If you have birdbaths or pots that collect water regularly clean them out. Why not put together a pot of plants that naturally deter mosquitoes? Many herbs including lemon balm, mint, and lavender are known to repel mosquitoes.
Make sure you and your plants are getting enough water. Water well and deeply. When the forecast calls for a heat wave water your plants thoroughly before it begins. The optimal time to water is in the morning before the temperature rises, but whenever your schedule allows works. Moving potted containers to shadier locations will help them otherwise you may need to water them more than once a day, especially hanging baskets. A defense mechanism that many plants employ during extreme heat is leaf wilting. If the plant doesn't perk up in the evening or after watering it could be a sign of too much or too little water. Use your finger to test the moisture of the soil. If it is dry you may need to give it more water. If the soil is wet, you may have given it too much water.
Most importantly, don't forget to take care of yourself during hot weather. Heat stroke and sun stroke are dangerous and avoidable. Don't work in your garden during the hottest parts of the day. Wear sunscreen and a hat and take frequent water breaks. The summer garden is a beautiful thing, enjoy it while relaxing in the shade. Stay safe this summer and follow these tips for surviving the hot weather from the National Safety Council.
Father's Day is Sunday, June 20. Father's love flowers too. They also love plants.
Order a fresh arrangement or pick up a plant for your Pops.
"In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different."
~ John Steinbeck
Your Friends at JF&GC