Sow seed. You can direct sow easy-to-grow flowering annuals and vegetables. Some easy flowers to grow from seed include marigolds (Tagetes spp. and cvs., annual), zinnias, (Zinnia elegans, annual) sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual), and cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual). Beans, peas, corn, and okra are some easy direct-sow vegetables (plant them right in the ground), while dill (Anethum graveolens, annual), basil (Ocimum basilicum, annual), and cilantro (Coriandrum sativum, annual) are some easy direct-sow herbs.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs soon after they finish flowering, but only if they need it. Selectively cut old or unruly branches by reaching deeply into the shrub, leaving no visible stub. Make the cut just above a joint.
Think ahead. Try the annual moon vine (Ipomoea alba) this year to attract sphinx moths to your garden. Nick the hard seed coat carefully with nail clippers, and soak in water overnight to hasten germination.
Hold off on some plants. Do not cut back any woody perennials such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Zones 8-10), rue (Ruta graveolens, Zones 4-8), lavender (Lavendula spp. and cvs., Zones 5-8), or artemisia (Artemisia spp. and cvs., Zones 4-9) just yet. If done before the danger of frost has passed, new growth may appear, and a freeze can kill or severely injure the entire plant.
Steve Aitken is the Editor-in-Chief for Fine Gardening magazine.
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