Early summer is prime time for us to be outdoors. The cold is gone, it’s not yet too hot, we’re usually still getting some rain, and many flower gardens are at their peak.
Cut back by one-third to one-half Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum, Zones 4–8), ironweeds (Vernonia spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9), and other tall, late-summer perennials if you want to delay their bloom by several weeks for a showier fall spectacle.
Divide crowded clumps of spring-flowering bulbs before their leaves completely disappear.
Fill gaps left when early-blooming perennials and bulbs go dormant with annuals, containers, or garden ornaments.
Finish setting out indoor-grown transplants such as eggplants and peppers, and direct-sow seeds of fast-growing summer crops such as basil, beans, and summer squash.
Mulch all new plantings before summer heat arrives, and water them regularly if there’s a dry spell.
Nancy J. Ondra is the author of over fifteen books, including Grasses, The Perennial Care Manual, and The Perennial Matchmaker.
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