Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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10 THE VALLEY / GARDENING JULY 12-18, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION Keep your perennial gardens looking their best throughout the hot summer months with a bit of midsummer grooming and care. Investing time midseason means you'll be enjoying beautiful gardens now through the end of the grow- ing season. Start by deadheading, remov- ing faded flowers, to improve the plants' overall appearance. It won't extend bloom time on all perennials, but will keep some like bergenia, lamb's ear, peonies, and perennial geraniums looking neat and tidy throughout the summer. Deadheading will encourage an additional flush of flowers on many perennials including bee balm, coral bells, daylilies, fringed bleed- ing heart, phlox, purple coneflow- ers, salvia, veronica, and yarrow. Cut spent flowers back to the nearest set of side shoots with flow- er buds or healthy leaves on peren- nials like coneflowers, catmints, salvias, shasta daisies, turtlehead and veronicas. On daylilies and balloon flowers, remove individual flowers on the flower scape (stem) as they fade. Once all the individual flowers have faded and been deadheaded, remove the whole flower stem. Prune flower stems back to a rosette of leaves at the base of the plant on coral bells, hosta and lamb's ear to keep these plants looking their best. Shearing a plant, also called cut- ting back, is a pruning method that removes large amounts of plant material in one fell swoop. This method is useful for plants with an abundance of small flowers such as creeping phlox, rock cress and threadleaf coreopsis. Also consider digging and dividing threadleaf coreopsis every few years to pro- mote continuous bloom. Complete pruning by the begin- ning of July on late summer and fall blooming perennials. Early season pruning encourages more compact growth and can be used to stagger bloom times. Manage flopping growth on plants such as Walker's Low Catmint (Nepeta) by cutting the plants back halfway. Cut back salvias and Veronicas after the second flush of flowers to promote compact growth and addi- tional bloom. Thin out overcrowded plants by removing some stems to the ground. This increases light pen- etration and airflow to the plants, reducing the risk of disease. Use ground level pruning on bleeding heart and other perennials that dieback midseason. Dead leafing, a technique used to remove or trim back discolored foliage, allows the flowers to remain the center of attention. Stake plants in need of support to prevent perennials from flop- ping. This will reduce disease and increase beauty. Although it's always best to put stakes and supports in place as plants emerge in spring, you can still add a bit of support mid- season. Use bamboo stakes and ties, twigs woven into stems or other attractive or virtually invis- ible stakes. Then mark next year's calendar to remind yourself to put stakes in place in spring as plants emerge. Spread a thin layer of mulch such as shredded leaves, evergreen nee- dles, twice shredded bark or other organic material over the soil sur- face. Mulching conserves moisture, suppresses weeds, keeps roots cool during hot weather and improves the soil as it decomposes. Continue to remove weeds throughout the season to eliminate competition for water and nutrients. Removing weeds before they form seeds eliminates hundreds of weeds you'll need to pull in next year's garden. Weeding also reduces the risk of insects and disease in your garden since some weeds attract pests and serve as host for diseases that can damage perennials. Plant perennials or annuals to fill voids or mask declining spring bloomers. Water new plantings often enough to keep the roots moist for the first few weeks. Eventually switch to thorough, less frequent watering to encourage deep drought tolerant roots. And don't forget to mulch the soil right after you plant to keep roots cool and moist. Once your perennial gardens are spruced up, it's time to sit back and enjoy the beauty you've created. Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including "Small Space Gardening." She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally syndi- cated "Melinda's Garden Moment" TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers's web site is www.MelindaMyers.com. Summer care for perennial gardens By MELINDA MYERS PHOTO COURTESY OF MELINDA MYERS LLC Removing faded flowers before they can set seed, also known as deadheading, encourages an additional flush of flowers on many perennials including daylilies. Farmers markets at Daniels Farmstead now open BLACKSTONE – Farmers markets at Daniels Farmstead, 286 Mendon St., have begun and will continue every Sunday through Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The 8th season of organic veg- etables are growing in the Daniels garden. The first farmers market will feature other vendors offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, grass- fed meats, goat milk soaps, gourmet foods, fancy fudge, and more. The grill will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., featuring certified angus beef and veggie burgers, franks, and Italian sausage with peppers and onions. A home-baked goods table, including Daniels own raw honey, will also be available. Visitors can enjoy musical entertain- ment while eating at picnic tables, or they can learn more about the property with a grounds and house tour conducted by a Daniels docent. Musical entertainment will be pro- vided by a grant from the Blackstone and Mendon Cultural Councils, sup- ported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Daniels Farmstead will accept Massachusetts farmers' market cou- pons. Upcoming events this summer include a Go Green Electronics Recycling event on Sunday, July 15. For more information, contact Justine Brewer at justine@southwick- szoo.com or 1-508-726-2042. IN BRIEF Tens of thousands of new "Friends." at valleybreeze.com Click on 'Advertising' to reach them! do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fi ll 5 every week! They're all at valleybreeze.com Hear your favorite local radio shows and vintage pop music on 1240 AM and now at 99.3 FM Your Choice – or ANYTIME – on www.WoonsocketRadio.com

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