Saturday, July 31, 2010

Late July

We dodged another bullet. We‘ve been lucky this year. With all the severe storms we've had, here we've gotten only rain and some wind, but not enough to cause damage. Our neighbors lost a large limb from a willow tree. We‘re very open here, and windy, but our trees are mostly far enough away from the house. And the greenhouses have held up well. Well built (thanks John.)

Lucy's been doing bunny training. We have a few small and medium sized bunnies from at least two litters. They‘re young enough so they°re not too fearful of other animals and humans yet.

When we see them out walking, we put Lucy on the leash and let her get close enough to "encourage" them into the brush, but not close enough to get them. They seem to be learning. Last week, three of them scattered when they saw her coming. She goes out and looks for them in the areas where they hang out. It's a fun game for her.

I've been going through the gardens every couple weeks and doing a big cutting back. I deadhead both annual and perennial flowers, to promote longer blooming. I remove flowers from basil plants to delay seed promotion. And I cut back perennials hare after they bloom. This encourages new growth. It neatens up the plants and promotes re-bloom on some perennials - like hyssop, Jupiter's beard, catmint and salvia. Don't forget to let seed heads develop on biennials (like foxglove and sweet william) and annuals that you want to reseed - like dill. If you want to save seed from plants like snaps and calendula, deadhead them now to encourage more blooms, and let seed heads develop at the end of the season before frost.

This is a great time to trim and shape lavender plants if they are sprawly or unshapely. Cut back by about 30-40%, remove too long or branches with minimum foliage and cut off spent flower stalks.

Lots of harvesting once things revived with the rain- mints, basils, calendula petals (great for lotions, salves for skin irritations,) lemon verbena and lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley. Also drying annual statice with its beautiful and long lasting colors celosia and lemon mint for wreaths and arrangements.

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