July in the Garden: Keep the Fireworks Going

By now flower gardens are producing a profusion of gorgeous blooms: White, red, and purple bee balm are exploding overhead with echinacea, phlox, and agapanthus along with zinnias, delphiniums, daylilies, Shasta daisies, and verbenas adding to the festive array.

How do you make the most of this abundance of scents and colors and keep the fireworks going for as long as possible? Here are some suggestions from garden experts around the country.

Keep flower beds weeded and remove dead blossoms.

Pinch back snapdragons after they bloom to promote a second flowering.

Stake tall flowers such as delphiniums and tie them with a soft twine to prevent wind damage.

Keep sweet peas blooming by mulching heavily to retain moisture and cool the roots.

Cut back all side shoots on dahlias to produce larger flowers.

If annuals have faded, cut them back by half and fertilize them with 5-10-10 fertilizer.

When cutting flowers, use a sharp knife or scissors so as not to injure the plant.

Keep roses well watered and add fertilizer once a month.

Cut back bee balm right after blossoming to stimulate possible second blooming.

Lightly fertilize chrysanthemums every two weeks.

In July, sow seeds for foxgloves, hollyhocks, Canterbury bells, and sweet William for blooming next year.

Protect perennials from slugs with copper strips, available from garden centers. Most slugs won’t cross them, although occasionally some will be daring.

Perhaps the best way to keep your garden producing is by planting the longest blooming perennials such as the following: