Summer doesn't have to be a time of toil and struggle in the garden. It all comes down to careful planning. We share seven tips to create a garden that is bliss, even in the heat of the summer.
- Zoned Irrigation. Relaxing in the summer garden certainly doesn’t mean skimping on the watering. When feasible, a professionally installed irrigation system is the best option. The system is comprised of several zones so each area of the landscape receives exactly the amount of water it needs: no more, no less. Without adequate watering, summer can be a death sentence for a lot of our landscape plants, especially those that were installed earlier in the season. In the garden, watering is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
- Stashing Hoses. The second reason we fail to water is the hassle of hauling around hoses. When your garden is densely planted, you can easily stash hoses in the beds. When it’s time to water, just attach your sprinkler head. If your garden is lush enough, sprinklers can be stashed in the garden, too. The easier it is to get the water to where it needs to be, the more apt you are to water.
- No More Thumbing It! If you water by hand, and I often do, using your thumb at the end of the hose is fine, for about an hour. One of my best investments was a high quality watering wand. I can pinpoint where I place the water in the garden without stepping into the garden. I can hold the wand to the plant’s base if I don't want to soak the leaves and I’m never tempted to cut the watering period short.
- Great Soil and Mulch. Around my water-loving plants I have amended the soil well. As a result, the water reaches deep into the soil, encouraging the roots to grow deep where lack of rain is less of a threat to the plants’ health.
- Fluff the Mulch. I bring this up again because it’s so important. If your mulch is hard and compacted, rain has difficulty getting to the soil. Fluffing the mulch ensures the water penetrates to the soil.
- Proper Spring Prep. If your new plants were installed improperly (root balls exposed, damaged branches and limbs not removed, lack of watering…), they’re going into August already enduring a few months of stress. The stronger your plants are, the better able they will handle the stress of our hottest month.
- Stop Deadheading. Select plants that are beneficial to the garden even after they bloom. Coneflowers are great for nectar and for seeds, so there's no need to deadhead them in the hot days of summer. Plants that offer winter interest and/or are beneficial to the wildlife don’t need us to tinker with them when they are done blooming. Less work means more time to enjoy the gardens.