“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.” Ronald Reagan.
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” Elmer Davis.
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” William Faulkner.
“With freedom comes responsibility.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
“From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Someone, somewhere is depending on you to do what God has called you to do.” Rev. Troy Nicely.
June is bidding farewell as July makes her grand entrance and weekend celebrations begin. Since the fourth is on a Thursday, many families will be celebrating the weekend before while others will be celebrating the weekend afterwards. Both weekends as well as the week in between will be filled with fun-filled celebrations, activities, gatherings, travel, food and yes, fireworks. Once the fireworks are completed and celebrations cease, get back to your norm and take some time to review your landscape needs.
Now is a good time for taking soil samples and having them analyzed for improved soil and plant health, developing plans for your fall landscape needs, and for rooting plant materials from cuttings. Feed mums every two weeks with liquid fertilizer until flower buds appear. Also, dried blood repels rabbits, white geraniums repel Japanese beetles, and dragonflies feed on mosquitoes.
Brussel sprouts: Fall is the best time to grow brussel sprouts throughout most of the sunbelt. Sow seeds directly into your garden seedbeds or use transplants (seedling plants or liners). Like cabbage, Brussel sprouts are heavy feeders and need fertilizer to bring them along. Make monthly applications of 5-10-10 or similar analysis fertilizer beginning when the plants reach about four-inches in height. Apply at a rate of about one-half cup of fertilizer per square yard of planted area. Brussel sprouts and other fall vegetables may be used in landscape beds for their ornamental value during their growth cycle and harvested for the kitchen and dinner plates at maturity.
Cannas: Continue to remove faded and expired flowers to prolong the bloom season into the fall. Cannas are moderately drought resistant, but plants will be more robust with higher quality blooms if watered every three to five dry days. In August, make a final application of fertilizer, such as 5-10-10 or similar analysis, at a rate of one-half cup per square yard of planted area.
Crape myrtles: Continue to remove excessive vegetation as needed for better shape, form and health (do not commit crape murder). Also remove exhausted and spent flowers to encourage a fall presentation of flower color. Continue to inspect these plants for any insect or disease activity. If the leaves are sticky and blackened, then aphids or scale insects are a distinct possibility. These insect pests release a honeydew (sticky substance) and the sooty mold fungus (blackened appearance) feeds on it. Control your insect problem and you will most likely cure the mold situation.
Dogwoods: Continue to remove excessive vegetation (suckers and unnecessary growth) along main and lower branches as needed for better shape, form and health. Continue to inspect these plants for any insect or disease activity and address accordingly. Be on look-out for anthracnose fungal activity.
Fall annuals: Sow seeds (or set out seedlings) of pansies and calendulas in August for a vibrant November display of color. Marigolds and nasturtiums can also be planted for a fall display. Pinch mums (chrysanthemums) for a final time later this month to encourage improved budding and flowering.
Flowering kale: Sow seeds of flowering kale in late July to early August. Prized for its colorful ornamental leaves (pink/red, purple or white centers surrounded by green), flowering kale is also edible. Plant in full sun in healthy, well-drained soils. Also, flowering kale may be grown in containers for use on the deck or patio. To keep flowering kale healthy and showy, water frequently during dry weather. Ornamental cabbages have leaves with wavy edges, while the leaves of ornamental kale have ruffled or crinkled edges.
Landscape planning: Now is a great time to utilize for planning your woody ornamentals and sketching your site plans. The initial step is an analysis of the site to determine needs and identify problematic situations such as poor drainage and compaction. Review and study your plant choices and their cultural requirements. Develop and sketch your ideas to scale onto paper. Your initial thoughts, ideas and approach should be very general. However, as the process develops and you begin to address your wants and the site’s needs, the final sketch or drawing should be very specific and ready for a fall installation.
Palm plantings: This is the season for planting palms and all hardy species can be installed now. Select those species which are recommended for this area and offer a tolerance to the lethal yellowing disease.
Pine straw: Late June and July mark the beginning of any noticeable falling of pine needles from surrounding pine trees. This dropping will continue deep into the fall season. Rake these needles and use the straw to refresh your landscape beds. Pick up any fallen pine cones before mowing. The heavy green pine cones can be destructive to your mower unit, as well as becoming a safety hazard to people and property when thrown by the mower blades.
Powdery mildew: This is a fungus that appears as a white powder (resembling talcum powder) on plant foliage (tops and bottoms of leaves). Powdery mildew is at its height of infestation on plants in late summer. Crape myrtles, roses, zinnias, marigolds, and others are among the plants affected.
Pruning: Most major pruning is done in the spring, but now is a good time to perform minor pruning to shape plants. Most spring flowering plants are setting buds now, so prune only to cut back long shoots, and remove dead or diseased wood (otherwise, you may be removing flower buds). Continue to water your plants as needed and make a final, light application of fertilizer next month. In addition, remove dead blooms from all plants and divide daylilies and Japanese irises. Plant Madonna lilies and newer hybrids. Take cuttings from rock garden plants such as sedum, phlox and pinks to put in a cold-frame for the winter.
Repellent: A homemade mosquito (ants and fleas) repellent includes ½ liter of alcohol, 100 grams of whole cloves, and 100 milliliters of baby oil or similar (almond, chamomile, lavender, fennel, etc.). Leave cloves to marinate in alcohol for four days, stirring every morning and evening. Then, add the oil and mix thoroughly. Gently rub a few drops into the skin of the arms, legs, and neck.
Heat: Exercise care while working outside in the heat of the day. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, wear proper clothing including sun hat and polarized sunglasses, and use sunblock for protection on exposed skin. Pace yourself and try to do your landscape work in the early morning or early evening hours.
Think in terms of native and sustainable plants in the landscape. May this bit of awareness ignite your desire to learn and ask questions, encourage you to further apply your accumulated knowledge, and bring you to further realize that environmental stewardship and sustainability should be at the foundation of all your home landscape activities.
Keep your hanging baskets and potted plants refreshed with water and food. Remember to feed and water the songbirds, and give your pets the care they need. Also, be on lookout for children playing and bicyclists riding along the streets and roadways throughout our communities. And remember to safely share the road with motorcycles. Look three times before entering the highway. Drive alert and arrive alive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired, and don’t text while driving. Click it or ticket! Help the homeless every chance you get. Share your blessings with those less fortunate. Let’s keep everyone safe and secure while enjoying the great outdoors. Welcome the Fourth of July this week and say “Happy Birthday” to the good ole USA!
“Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!” Zechariah 11:17. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4. “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4.
Eddie Seagle is a Sustainability Associate, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International), Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and Learning (University System of Georgia) and Short Term Missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.