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July gardening

The Fourth of July is almost here. It's not too late to create an Independence Day planter in red, white, and blue! For reds: try verbena, petunia, Sweet William, or salvia. For blues: bachelor's button, salvia, petunia, or lobelia. For whites: alyssum, petunia, candytuft.

Now...on to the July tasks in your gardens!

You can still plant some annuals and perennials in your summer gardens. For annuals, try marigolds, portulaca, and zinnias for that huge splash of color. For perennials, and even more color, plant coreopsis, gaura, rudbeckias, salvias, and many more.

Tropical plants are popular now and can be brought into any garden, whether tropical, cottage, or country themes. Flowering shrubs include hibiscus, brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet), canna, bougainvillea, and vines such as passion flower or Burmese honeysuckle. Large-leaf evergreens include philodendrons, xanadu, tree ferns, and gingers. You can even include abutilon, which comes in several colors including red, yellow, orange, and pink.

You are probably busy harvesting and enjoying your summer vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, squashes, and peppers. You can also continue to plant these veggies to extend your crop harvest.

This time of year is often a major "pest" time in our gardens. Those holes in your rose leaves are from the rose slug. Aphids love the rose buds, and more. You can wash off these pests with water. Caterpillars are abundant; try a spray containing Bt. And we can't forget snails--they won't let us.

It's feeding time for your flowerbeds, roses, vegetables and warm-season lawns. Come in and ask one of us which fertilizers will be best for each of your plant needs. We offer a wide selection of fertilizers: multipurpose, organic, and slow release.

You can do some pruning, even though it's summertime. Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister,' gaura, and salvias will look much better if cut back by about 1/3. Oh...and your catmint, too.

If you forgot to increase your watering from the spring months, you must do so now. Trees (non-citrus) and shrubs will need deep soaks once each month in the summer, and regular irrigation in between. Citrus and your flowerbeds need regular weekly watering.

Those of you growing tomatoes and peppers, watch for tomato hornworms. They will need to be hand-picked from your foliage.

As usual, mulch, mulch, mulch! We will always tell you to mulch. This does not mean mound up the mulch to 5 feet. It means continue to replenish the mulch and maintain a 2-4 inch blanket over your soil. So when you hear us singing the MULCH song, you know just what we mean!

And last, but not least, have a very Happy Independence Day!

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