Orange poppies are most bee-coming. (Nikk/Flickr)

Deer Gardener: Keeping the bloom on the rose

By Elaine Nyeholt

Something new is good because it keeps us from getting too set in our patterns — this has become my mantra. I am trying to be open-minded about new ways of doing things, and it is pleasing me. I learn so much from other gardeners and from reading.

Pinterest has such novel and intriguing ideas on alternate planting containers. Many of the containers (like pallets) need some careful and consistent watering, as the soil isn’t deep. Our winds are very drying, which can be a good thing for plants in the ground, but more of a concern for planters and hanging baskets. Try to remember to water these containers thoroughly at least three times a week for successful growing.

The roses are using up their fertilizer and water furiously right now as they bloom on and on. Read the instructions on your rose fertilizer and you will see that it needs to be reapplied mid-blooming season to prolong the flowers.

A white Rugosa Rose that I was blessed with two summers ago is fabulous! The scent cannot be beat. It is vigorously sending up new shoots too, if you want a piece.

The deer were nibbling my red Rugosa by leaning over the fence, so that had to be covered with netting. It will recover and be twice as bushy for its untimely trimming. Everything works out somehow.

The giant orange poppies have put on a fantastic show again this year, and because I did tie them up early and fence them, they are not falling all over the place. Very little strength is in a poppy stem once that huge flower opens — a little rain and wind will “splat” it to the ground.

Cut them back by about two-thirds as soon as the blooms are done to prevent the unsightly dying stems. There are Tiger Lilies coming next in that bed to have their show. This seems to be my “very orange” bed. It’s central in the yard and quite eye-catching.

One more weeding would be good if I can get to it. The tiny weeds can be easily plucked or hoed in July to keep them from setting seed in August. You will be glad if you can manage this chore, especially in the veggie patches where weeds are quite detrimental as they suck up the goodness and water intended for dinner vegetables.

Re-seed lettuce in a shadier spot and perhaps another row of beans or greens now for a late fall harvest. Our growing season extends to mid-October some years.

Potatoes like to be hilled and mulched as they set their crop for the Fall Fair, which is on Sunday, Aug. 5 this year. A side dressing of compost or seaweed is always appreciated before you hill them, but potatoes do seem to be just fine without it most years, depending on the richness of your soil, and the product you expect to glean.

Rhubarb is having a great year, as the big stalks and leaves move gently in the breeze. If you pull the stalks with a twisting motion clearing the crown it will be stimulated to send up new leaves for another crop. A good soaking at this time of year is helpful. Rhubarb needs lots of water. Slugs eat rhubarb stalks… that amazes me, but since there is plenty of it, I don’t care.

We are off to Bible Camp for a few weeks, so I might not be writing again this month. Enjoy your season, and see you at the Fall Fair.

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