Sunday, July 13, 2008


We’ve come to that time of the year when things start to slow down here at the ‘Side. You’ve put in the garden, planted your annuals, and maybe added to the perennial garden. Now you are off on holiday or just taking it easy.

There is always something to do in the garden, mostly under the heading of "Maintenance." Maybe your spring containers are looking a little droopy. Some plants need to be cut back or thinned before they take over the container. Sadly, one or two of plants may have "gone dormant," which is a nice way of saying "dead." Don’t be afraid to get out the scissors and give things a trim, or if need be, add some summer annuals to the container. There are many heat and sun tolerant annuals you can add to the summer container. Angelonia is a great upright element in a container. It comes in purples and white. Pentas come in reds, pinks, and whites and attract butterflys and hummingbirds. Coleus work well in sun as well as shade containers and come in wonderful variety of foliage colors.

Keep a sharp eye out for bugs in the veg garden. Keeping them in check now, with the judicious use of insecticidal soap or even something stronger, like Eight®, will pay dividends in the long run. I have noticed that the Japanese beetles are now out in force. I would have thought that with the cold spring we had this year their development would have slowed as well and they would have emerged somewhat later. But, sadly, no. They arrived right on schedule. You can use Eight® on them as well. It is a contact spray with some residual, but you will have to reapply on a regular basis. For future reference, you can use a grub control on the lawn starting next month to kill the grubs that hatch when they lay their eggs. Milky Spore® is a biological control that will take several applications to build up an optimal level of grub killing bacteria in the soil but our customers report good results with it.

I’ve been riding my bike a lot around Crystal Lake in order to save on gas and for the exercise. Here are a few pictures of a few things I’ve seen in my travels. Here is a prime no-no with the mulch. The transition zone between the roots of the tree and its trunk is an entry point for diseases that can be harbored in the mulch. Small burrowing animals can winter over in the mulch and gnaw on the bark, damaging the tree. Mulch keeps the tree roots cooler and helps conserve water, but it should be kept away from the trunk of the tree.

I saw this cute idea for a planter on my way to the grocery store the other day. If you have a cute planter, please email it to me at and I will upload it to the blog.

I hope you are all enjoying our summer. I have enjoyed spending Tuesday evenings out at the lake listening to the summer concert series. If you haven't been you are missing a fun evening. Countryside deliveryman, Jim, plays the tuba in the Crystal Lake Concert Band and they are always great to hear.

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