Ack! Is it June already? May was a flurry of gardening activity for me, plus consulting, so I almost got through my May to do list. I didn’t really stay on top of the weeding, as I had recommended, but that will definitely be a priority for June! I also didn’t start moving soil to get ready for the retaining wall project, but I’ve decided to postpone that until July when I’ll have more time. I did, however, almost finish planting the new area of the front welcome garden, which wasn’t even part of the plan! I always like to get all my planting done before the monsoons of June arrive… and I’m almost there.
My June to-do list is as follows:
- Finish moving perennials and planting annuals – I’m almost done…
- Because of the new trees I planted and the bench I want to eventually put in the butterfly potager garden, I need to put some stepping stones in. The kids and dog walk through it all the time anyway so at least this way they won’t be stepping on plants!
- Weeding. I know I said I would do it in May, but this month I really mean it. This needs to be done before developing seeds plus the rains of June combine to turn the garden into a weedy jungle! Make a pass through each garden area at least weekly and at least pull the weeds that have begun to flower or gone to seed.
- Continue spreading compost on the garden – this needs to be finished this month before the plants get too big. Compost will help retain moisture, keep down weeds, and will eventually break down and provide nutrients to the soil. It’s all about the soil, baby.
- For the remaining compost pile, turn it over occasionally to help hasten decomposition. What am I saying… I never do this! The compost breaks down eventually even if not turned and I never seem to get around to it. But if you want faster compost, keep it moist and turn it over regularly.
- Water newly planted annuals and perennials regularly when it doesn’t rain. Most of my established perennials are drought tolerant and after one year they’re on their own unless there is a sustained heat wave in July or August. I water my gardens with soaker hoses to water deeply and minimize water loss to evaporation, and the pots of annuals are the only thing that are “high maintenance”. They need regular water and fertilizer.
- Water the vegetable garden regularly. Veggies don’t like to dry out!
- Keep an eye on the taller and vining plants and give them support before they flop over…
- Prune roses – usually I find there is some tip kill from the inevitable cold spell in… May! Prune by cutting the canes just above an outward facing shoot.
- Spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs should be pruned right after they finish flowering – prune them by cutting out the oldest wood right at the base, rather than shearing them. But don’t prune off finished flowers from shrubs that produce fruit, such as viburnums and saskatoons.
- Deadhead (remove finished flowers from) annuals continuously to promote new flowers, and most perennials once they have finished blooming, to tidy them up and/or to prevent self-seeding. Some perennials that have showy seedheads, such as ornamental allium, can be left standing.
- Edge the borders between garden and grass – I have so little grass that there is only one area where I need to do this! A well-cut edge really does make a big difference.
- Continue cleaning out the greenhouse, organize tools, and make myself a potting station on the north side of the house. I can barely wait for this – it’s going to be so cute!