Smiles in My Garden
Summer of Ease

Summer Refresh

July . . . in the garden . . . isn't quite like June.

In June, everything is so exciting! Emerging. Growing. Blooming like mad. There's even some enthusiasm for the more mundane gardening chores like weeding, watering the containers, transplanting, and deadheading. After a long winter inside - dreaming about being out in the garden again - those chores seem (kind of) . . . fun.

By July? Well. Maybe not so much.

The garden story is changing a bit. The excitement has died down. Blooms are fading. Growth is slowing. Weeds are EVERYwhere. It becomes very obvious where the "holes" are . . . which plants didn't quite perform like you'd hoped, for example. Or areas of the garden that need more color or foliage . . . or something. Maybe . . . you wished you'd mulched more. Or . . . damn those deer. And, hey! What happened to the basil? You can see where your irrigation system isn't working. Those mundane garden chores just aren't so charming anymore.


In short, it takes WORK to keep a garden looking good for the whole season. And it becomes glaringly obvious in . . . oh, about July.

For me, this always means . . . Summer Refresh! A time to assess and plot for the even drier, hotter months ahead. What's working out there? What's not? What do I need more of? What can I cut back? Where do I need to up my watering game? That kind of thing.

Luckily, most garden shops and nurseries are there to help me out at this time of year . . . with SALES. Now is a great time to find discounted plants at your local nurseries. Sure. The plants may be more root-bound and "leggy" than they are earlier in the season. But the nurseries price them to move -- and you can get some great deals.

Earlier this week, I visited the annual "cart sale" at one of my local nurseries. They pull out all their excess annuals into their parking lot (we're talking racks and racks of blooming annuals and leggy vegetables) (and a very big parking lot). Shoppers grab a giant cart (a "nursery gurney" as my mom used to call them)  . . . and you fill the whole thing up for $55. (When I first started going to the cart sale, it was $35. . . just sayin) There are rules, of course. No stacking. Nothing can be hanging off the cart. But, other than that . . . it's pretty much open season.

And it's a great way to fill "holes" in your garden or containers!


(This is my cart this year. Not as "loaded" as some years, but full enough for sure!)

This weekend, you'll find me in my garden* . . . refreshing containers, dragging some hoses, moving a few plants around, weeding (always), and following my constant garden mantra/refrain: If it's brown, cut it down.


(One of my recently-refreshed front porch containers.) (It really needed some extra oomph this year.)

I'm eager for a refresh out in the garden!
(And, actually, this is all a metaphor for life. But that's for another post, another day.)

I hope you all enjoy a lovely, long weekend . . . refreshing anything that needs refreshing!


* No Up-North-for-the-4th for us! It's too crowded and too busy up there over the 4th. And there are just . . . too many fireworks. (JoJo struggles mightily with the fireworks, and she really suffers when we're up north where it's constant firecrackers ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT, FOR DAYS.) So we stay home for a quiet(er) . . . refresh.





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Weeds sure do explode in July! I've almost given up, knowing that I'll be gone for much of the month, but I'm still trying to keep up (in a small way anyway). You have a great garden center. There is one here in MD that is selling their slightly bedraggled-looking hanging baskets for the same price as usual, but I bet they might still be around in August (when things can start to look really brown and bedraggled). Have a happy weekend in your garden!


Oh the weeds . . . I wanted to cry when I saw our beds on Saturday when we got home. By lunch on Sunday they were cleaned up (mostly) and they feel more manageable. What I missed planting in my containers this year was color. I have lots of coleus but I could really use some flowering annuals to brighten things up. It's supposed to rain here much of the weekend but maybe I can visit the nursery and take advantage of the sales in between storms.


Enjoy your "quieter" time at home. Big gentle hugs for Jojo. Hang in there . . . it will quiet down soon.

The weeds have been especially prolific this year. I think they are winning!


That cart sale would be dangerous for me!! I've been "shopping" in my own garden, moving things around, much of my flower garden is so full that there is no room for weeds to grow, but it's time to start thinning things a bit..... I wander my yard just about every morning picking a few weeds, taking note of what needs to be done, doing some of it then, or making a list for later..... it's a peaceful time. I have images in my mind of a box out front full of cucumbers and a sign that says FREE please take me.... I fear I will be over run with them this year.


That kind of 'quieter' 4th is how I roll, too...because dogs. Poor things. My big guy hides in the tiny shower (and one year sat on a can of shave gel! He smelled great after that. Though the whole place was foamy and blue.) What a lovely cart haul! And it all looked in such better shape than I was expecting! Such a gorgeous planter. What are the two tall broad blue-green center leaves? Elephant ear of sorts? Enjoy!!!


It all (especially the weeds) seems more intense this year. Plants are bushier and spreading more. And the weeds! They have taken over our driveway bed. Between the mint, lemon balm and the weeds there is no room for anything else. Enjoy your weekend at home. I started hearing fireworks in the day yesterday,,,and last night when I was trying to go to sleep. Today rain is forecast, so maybe it won't be as loud around here. Like JoJo, I am not a fan...


Your refreshing attitude toward gardening is inspiring. I do run out of gardening steam in July. It is not quite as much fun that is for sure. We were gone two different weeks in June (just home a few in between) and the weeds gained a lot of ground. Back home the second time meant taking care of coming home chores. I have to admit I am a fair weather gardener, meaning I don't like heat and humidity. I try to weed a little at a time and circulate through the yard.


We heard our first fireworks last night, which is much later into the summer than usual. Smoke broke out the doggie Valium and all was well.


We are getting a very late start, I know, but we are planning to plant our pea and radish seedlings tomorrow after getting them started inside. I'm not hoping for much at this point, but it's brought me some joy to have a few things growing. Next year, when we no longer have to worry about the big roof project, we can do a proper garden!


I had conversations with my kiddos and I laughed when I realized that I am now where my in-laws were ... wanting quiet versus crowded, fireworks, and all that noise. (My son thought I had lost my mind that I was not heading out to be part of all the hullabaloo! lol)

(oh and that garden refresh, yep... it is a real thing! I love the fill the cart thing... what a fun idea!)


I wonder if those refresh sales are a thing around here?! We had some deer give our front-porch pots a total haircut last week, so maybe we don't need more plants? ;-) Saturday was ok here, but yesterday was a mess ... I am so beyond over the noise and the crowds! (yeah, July 4th is pretty much my least favorite day of the year)

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