July Gardening

July is our hot month, and this July may be really hot. One good thing about a hot summer:  the tomatoes will ripen!

Cut back your asters and chrysanthemums before the middle of July.  Cut them about 6 inches back to a node where a leaf emerges.  That is the point where new growth will start.  Cutting back will encourage branching and produce bushier plants with more flowers.  Chrysanthemums have a tendency to flop over.  Cutting back helps with this problem.

Are you battling earwigs now?  Earwigs feed at night and hide during the day so they are not evident but the damage they do certainly is.  If you have mysterious holes in leaves or chunks out of flowers, it may be earwigs. Check the Garden Recipes in the Gardening Info section of http://www.caroldunk.com for a recipe to trap earwigs.

Be sure to check your roses every day for sawfly larvae.  Note that there is more than one sawfly.  In fact, I have three different sawfly larvae on my roses:  little green ones that eat the edges of the leaves, see-through guys that skeletonize the leaves, and another little. light green jobby that is usually curled and loves to eat the buds.  I monitor the roses and pick these guys off whenever I find them.  Finding them is easy:  I can spot eating evidence and especially frass (bug poop) below their location.

Irises are finished blooming.  Now is the time to lift the clumps and divide them.

Daylilies are at their peak this month. Enjoy them and divide them when they have bloomed.

Clematis continue to bloom. Mme Julie Corevon is blooming its heart out and climbing well. Perle D'azure sprawls across the bed showing up amid a hosta.

Remember to deadhead your annuals to keep them flowering.

Water your hanging baskets every day.

Renew your mulches as needed. Remember to leave a few bare spots for native bees that make their egg nests in the ground.

Tie up your tomatoes.

Pick your first zucchini!

Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Gandhi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for butterflies and native bees and other insects.

Set aside a portion of your garden or maybe your boulevard to be devoted to native plants that pollinators will love. Plan your Patch in a sunny spot that will attract bees and other insects.   There is lots of information on the Web about what native plants you may want to choose. 

You might want to go beyond your personal bounds and plant a Patch on public ground.  You’ll need permission to do this but municipalities are conscious of the need for native plants for insects and may be very glad to have you head a native planting group.

Although your planting is designed to be a haven for butterflies and other insects, your focus right now should be on the Monarch Butterfly.  The butterfly has been assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

To attract and save Monarchs, be sure to plant a stand of milkweed in your Pollinator Patch.  Milkweed is critical to the life cycle of Monarch Butterflies. The butterflies will hunt for milkweed and only milkweed for egg laying. They will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. Plants of the milkweed family are also the hosts of Monarch larvae. The resulting larvae will eat only milkweed leaves. No milkweed -- no Monarchs.]

If you don't want to plant ordinary milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in your garden, consider Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) instead.

For bees and other butterflies, yellow, red and orange plants of the composite type are especially interesting.  Rudbeckias and asters are the easiest to grow.  Coreopsis is another plant loved by bees and butterflies.  Research on the web for other plants for your Pollinator Patch.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Plant a Pollinator patch this year.

The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us. --- E. O. Wilson



Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)


Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk was just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)


Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.


"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications (October 1998)


The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this newer section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.