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Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Prep


What signifies ‘SUMMER’ and everything synonymous with it even before that season actually arrives? You guessed it – Memorial Day weekend and yes, it’s just about here. So on this pre-holiday Monday, it’s a quick reminder. Try if you can to spend a part of the weekend in peace, rejuvenating rather than just filling up every holiday minute. As Holly Mosier reminds us “Our culture encourages us to plan every moment and fill our schedules with one activity and obligation after the next, with no time to just be. But the human body and mind require downtime to rejuvenate. I have found my greatest moments of joy and peace just sitting in silence, and then I take that joy and peace with me out into the world.”

But what about this oxymoron we call the ‘garden’? It’s that place of rejuvenation while at the same time it begs for us to tackle a mound of chores. If you’re really plugged in, there’s always something on the garden list to weed, treat or plant.  

So what’s on your summer prep garden list? Is planting over this long holiday weekend part of your plans? Well, a gentle reminder of timing it all correctly. This may help you balance the rejuvenate part of the weekend. 

All woody plant material (trees and shrubs) ideally should be in the ground before the mid-to latter part of June. This of course, depends on weather, which is always the tricky part of any planting but you have a little time to still get your woody plant material in the ground. Your grace period is during the month of June. Perennials can be done throughout the season but ideally before the scorching summer heat. Dividing and transplanting any woody plant material or perennials should also be done during the cooler overcast, damp days. With this damp, muggy up and down weather, though be careful of any diseases and pests that can set in. Speaking of diseases and those that love to plant annuals, we should all be aware of the Impatiens downy mildew (IDM) Some alternate shade plants recommended by UMass Extension - New Guinea impatiens, SunPatiens®, coleus, begonias (lots of types), torenia, lobelia, hypoestes and iresine. First spotted in Massachusetts in 2011, IDM has been a growing national problem and like any disease, can raise havoc in the landscape and gardens. Pay attention to alerts and always follow preventive measures, regardless if you are a hobbyist gardener or a nursery selling the material. 

And what else is synonymous with Memorial Day? It’s that neighborhood garden chatter; all that buzz about our love for fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s time to bring warm weather veggies home from our local nursery to find new soil. Call it that move-in period when our veggies take up residency in their ‘summer cottage’. Memorial Day weekend has always been the kick-off of these warm weather favorites.

For those who love the garden, Memorial Day weekend is that turning point between two seasons. But don’t feel rushed and try not to worry. There’s plenty of time to do both.

What will you do more of? Rejuvenate or plant? Whichever you do, please don't forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember our fallen heroes.

All Images by Ann Bilowz © 
Top Image of Peonies ready to bloom by Ann Bilowz ©
Middle Image of Amsonia tabernaemontana by Ann Bilowz ©
Bottom Image of Oregano and Fennel growing together by Ann Bilowz ©  

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)