By Lorraine Kiefer
I was outside early recently watering my plants and I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics of an old favorite song, “June is busting out all over.” The birds were singing, the sun was bright, many new seedlings had popped, others had grown, blooms were everywhere and it was beautiful. In fact I went in and typed “June is busting out all over” and soon was seeing the awesome original song and dance on Utube.
It is a beautiful June! Every single plant in our garden has grown and there are even tomatoes, peppers and squash on the plants!
It is not to late to plant most plants. Buy nice big tomato plants and bury them deep. Feed them with the green lid time-release osmocote for flowers and vegetables. I use this along with lots of compost and organic matter. With the long hours of sunlight and warm temperatures they will respond with growth and blooms.
A fragrant tree that is named for the month of July in some northern countries is the Linden! Here in Southern New Jersey it blooms now. We planted this about 25 years ago and have enjoyed it right out in front of our nursery between the annuals and the parking lot.
Beekeepers especially love this tree, as the fragrant, tiny, five-petalled flowers have such an aromatic nectar that the bees choose it before any other flowers during the Linden’s bloom. The strongly flavored light colored honey the bees process from the nectar is considered the epitome of high quality honey.
If you would like to plant a tree that is easy to grow, fragrant when in bloom, a great pollinator tree and one that yields flowers for a healthful tea, try a Linden. We have some nice ones that will easily fit in a car.
If there are bare spots in your yard add some annuals now. The four-pack size plants are easy to plant with a small spade and take minimal care. Give a spoon of time release osmocote fertilizer when planted and water well. Then water a couple times a week or when dry. Annuals bloom until frost. If you cut some dead blooms off they will even bloom more.
There are annual red flowering tobacco plants that are hummingbird magnets. These are so easy to grow in sun or shade. We have about six flats planted all over our yard and have already seen hummers at them.
I mixed these with white begonia which also thrive in sun or shade. These are so very easy to grow and really brighten up a shady corner.
Marigolds are the happy flowers. Plant them in sun anywhere you want some bright color. I love to pick them and put them in a small brown, white and gold pitcher. They look great on my kitchen table and last long.
Since I really like yellow I also planted gazania daisy and a sweet little daisy called Melampodium. This plant grows in sun or shade if watered well. I have it all around the edges of my border at the back patio. Since there are some spots of sun I also threw in some yellow petunia, yellow and orange calendula and nasturtium which add color and texture. Yellow day lilies are beginning to bloom. There are various other yellow perennials and a few blue or white ones.
We are still planting seeds, June is a good time to plant squash, second batch of cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, basil seed and zinnia seeds. We just planted cosmos for the gold finch and sunflowers and tithonia in the back of our garden for the birds. Cardinals, jay birds, and lots more will dart in to eat their seeds. Both plants get 5-6 feet high and are awesome looking so plant in the back of garden.
Remember it also is a good idea to plant some late vegetables for late in season. Some folks only visit nurseries or plant in late April or mid May. That really limits the kind of plants used and the look of a garden.
Add some herbs to beds and pots now for a harvest up until frost. Big pots of parsley and basil never go to waste. A row in the garden will last well into fall.
Sprinkle the seeds of dill and cilantro for the next few weeks so you have plenty to use into fall too. Nothing like fresh herbs on your summer salads and then fall soups and casseroles. “Happiness is an herb garden!” is on all our T shirts and all so true.
Watch for our summer and fall classes. There will be perennial brunch in July, date to be set! This will be a one of a kind and limited spaces. Learn to arrange flowers in a water can in August. If there is interest there will be a pickle and jam workshop too in midsummer. Classes listed on our web site www.tripleoaks.com.
Lorraine Kiefer is the owner and operator of Triple Oaks Nursery in Franklinville. She can also be reached by e-mail at Lorraine@tripleoaks.