Summertime

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But until that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

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Best Of Summer

It’s hard to believe that the summer is over!  But I’m glad I have so many pictures to enjoy this winter.  And they will help me plan for next year!!

Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In July

July can be a fun and productive month in the cottage garden.

Not only are your borders burgeoning, but there are ample opportunities to enhance your plantings with seeds and garden center bargains.

First, the not so fun tasks:

If your garden is like mine, everything needs deadheading, particularly the roses, hydrangeas, geraniums, sweet peas and hostas. Regular trimming will keep them looking tidy and will encourage reblooming.

July is the perfect time to compost those trimmings and to use that compost to mulch and feed your borders. Commercial bark mulch leaches nitrogen from your soil.  Using composted organic matter to mulch your plants actually improves the quality of your soil.

If you use layers and layers of bark mulch every year, you will soon be trying to grow your plants in nothing but bark mulch. It doesn’t work. And people often think there’s something wrong with the plants.

If you must use bark mulch, try mixing it with compost, or add the compost first and top with a light layer of bark mulch.

Rainfall in July can be spotty in many areas, while the heat and humidity can soar.  Make sure you keep your garden properly hydrated with periodic long soakings rather than daily sprinkles.

Now the fun part:

Planting seeds every few weeks for quick growing, colorful flowers such as sunflowers and nasturtiums will provide new interest in the garden throughout the rest of the summer.  Also, now is the time to scout garden centers for end of season bargains.

And start planning your fall garden/plantings.  Fall is the best time to plant some of the most popular plants such as peonies and alliums.

And be sure to take some time to slow down and enjoy the results of all your hard work!

What’s In Bloom On June 11

My dahlias are getting ready to bloom!

Stachys “Cotton Candy”

The Beauty Of Hydrangeas

Not only are they beautiful in the garden, but hydrangeas make lovely and long-lasting cut flowers. I have so many blossoms right now, I brought some indoors!

Roses and Hydrangeas

I’ve managed to discourage the neighborhood deer from snacking on my David Austin roses. They will (hopefully!) bloom the rest of the summer.

My hydrangeas in containers are an interesting shade of lilac/blue.

Helping Your Hydrangeas Bloom

Hydrangeas not blooming? You may be able to help them out by doing the following:

Make Sure They Have Enough Sun

While hydrangeas don’t need full sun, they do need some sunlight. Are your non-bloomers in heavy shade?  That may be the problem.

Stop Pruning

Most hydrangeas don’t like to be cut back severely. They set their buds in the fall, so if you are cutting old wood, you’re cutting away flower buds too.

Lavish Them With Compost

Poor nutrition can cause a lack of blooms.  For the best results, add compost in the fall and again in the spring to encourage maximum summer blooming.

Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Hydrangeas

Who doesn’t love hydrangeas? Thank goodness that includes honey bees!

You really can’t have an English cottage garden without a few hydrangeas. I have all kinds in my garden, from the old fashioned Nikko Blue to the new easy-care, repeat blooming cultivars Limelight, Little Lamb, Endless Summer, and Annabelle.

Gertrude Jekyll noted that hydrangeas are very useful for keeping the border full and beautiful throughout the growing season. Maybe that’s the reason I keep planting them…