From our partners at Houzz
It’s July, and the frenzy of gardening activity has slowed for Great Lakes gardeners, but this is no time to hide with air conditioning or snooze in the hammock. There are still plenty of tasks, good things to eat and things to see in the garden.
Water container gardens. With the highest temperatures of the year coming, it’s more important than ever to keep containers well watered. On the hottest days, they may need to be watered more than once a day. Remember, smaller containers and hanging baskets dry out faster than large containers.
Deadhead and deadleaf. Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) need deadheading every day and should be deadleafed as well to keep them looking fresh. To enjoy a second season of Clematis blooms this fall, deadhead them and fertilize Type II hybrids (early-blooming, large-flowered cultivars) after they finish blooming. Stop pinching asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, S. novi-belgii and S. laeve) and Chrysanthemums around the Fourth of July. Pinching ensures a better-shaped plant with a longer blooming period, but if extended too late in the season, the plants may not start blooming before a killing frost.
Manage garden pests. In Great Lakes gardens, Japanese beetles usually make their appearance in July. Shake them into a bucket of soapy water in the morning when they are less apt to fly off.
Collect and sow seeds. Collect seeds from spring-blooming plants to share in a seed exchange. Plant columbine (Aquilegia spp.) and foxglove (Digitalis spp.) seeds.
Dry lavender. If you grow lavender (Lavandula spp.), harvest some just before the buds open, hang it upside down to dry, then use the dried buds in sachets or keep them on the stalks for use in a summer wreath.
Harvest summer edibles. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and tomatoes ripen this month. Pick zucchini when the fruits are small and tender. Leave peppers to fully ripen for a better flavor.
Remove bloom stalks from garlic before the buds open, and harvest the bulbs when the foliage yellows, then hang them to dry.
July blooms. Oriental and hybrid lilies scent the garden with their strong perfume.
Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) adds its sweet scent alongside native coneflowers (Echinacea spp.), Liatris and bee balm (Monarda spp.). Native plants like these attract pollinators, such as tiger swallowtail butterflies.
In the shade garden, hosta blooms attract bees and hummingbirds, while hydrangeas hit their stride and ligularia brightens dark corners.
Perennial geraniums, such as Rozanne, can sprawl to cover any gaps left by spring-blooming bulbs in sunny to partly shady borders.
Take a walk for inspiration. Go on a garden walk or visit your local botanic garden or a prairie for July inspiration. Pay attention to growing conditions similar to those in your own garden. Here, a street-side planting is filled with tough, colorful July blooms.
And now you may hit the hammock or the couch, but bring a catalog or a laptop with you. July is the perfect time to order fall- and spring-blooming bulbs. (Consider ordering some Colchicums for late summer and fall bloom.) Stay cool.