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Summertime, and the living is easy? Well maybe...

A garden will always be a “work in progress”. As hot as it is in July here in North Carolina, the work in the garden doesn’t stop. What to do? Well, LOTS!

This time of year is ideal for trimming shrubs for shape. Has your Loropetalum bolted? Is the Chindo Viburnum hedge getting shaggy? Now is the time to prune. Head back long, arching sprouts; shape your boxwoods and other plants; and top out overgrown screening plants. It is also the time to trim your azaleas and Rhododendron. Both of those groups of plants set their flower buds for springtime displays in the late summer and early fall. If you wait to trim them for size until after the beginning of August, you could be removing the flowers-to-be, so do this work now!

The other mid-summer task has the grim-sounding name of dead-heading. Perennial flowers (and some shrubs such as Butterfly Bush) flower more profusely if the spent blooms are removed as the flowers go by. Purple Cone Flower, Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly Bush and a host of other perennials bloom all summer long if not allowed to go to seed. The purpose of producing a flower is to make seeds, so removing the spent flowers stimulates the plant to continue producing flowers. But what about the birds? you might ask – in my garden, I dead head until early August and then allow them to go to seed to feed my feathered friends. A win-win for everyone!


Happy Gardening Everyone!

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