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Coastal Gardening

Summer is no time to rest on your laurels (or tomatoes)

By Bob Hearle

Welcome to summer. Although it doesn’t begin for several weeks our gardens have already been there for weeks.

The hydrangeas are in bloom and the first two weeks of June are the best for daylilies. A visit to Roycroft Daylily Nursery in Maryville the next few days should be very enjoyable.

A problem with our heavy rains is too much water, particularly if you did not turn your irrigation system off. Leaves will turn yellow or black spots may appear. A general fungicide will cure the problem Remove the yellow or black spotted leaves where practical.

Master gardeners appear at farmers markets and occasionally at malls on weekends. They are an excellent source of information.

This is the month to fertilize your annuals and perennials with slow release fertilizer. Begin to deadhead your flowering annuals.

Warning: tomatoes are susceptible to Fusarium wilt. A plant healthy one day will be totally wilted the next. There is no cure or treatment for this disease.

Dig the plant immediately and discard in a trash bag. Removal of the soil is the only way to rid your garden of this problem. Plant only resistant varietals identified by a capital “F” after their name.

Fertilize your eggplants, peppers and tomatoes with blood meal. Be on the lookout for mites, aphids and whiteflies. Use insecticidal soap to control them. Always check the labels before using any insecticide on plants that will be consumed.

If you have a slug problem keep in mind that they do not line to crawl over sharp surfaces such as sharp sand or mulch. Keep the beer for yourself.

Fertilize the houseplants you brought outdoors, again with slow release. Fertilize Bermuda and Zoysia lawns this month. Take cuttings of impatiens and similar annuals and root in water. There is plenty of time for them to develop and flower before the first frost.

Remember to water your roses and keep in mind it is best not to take cuttings the first year. Watch for Japanese beetles, they have a voracious appetite.

This month’s plants to try include the camellia and hibiscus. Camellias are native to China, Japan and the Himalayas. They have glossy leaves, are evergreen and prefer acid soil. The most common colors are white, red and pink. They are well hybridized to introduce new colors and plant shapes. Most bloom October to February and should be planted June through September. The “Reticulata” family will bloom February through April.

Most are shrub like in appearance reaching 4 to 6 feet and are easily pruned. There is a variety that is almost a ground cover reaching only 1 foot and needs no pruning. It has white flowers. It blooms in early spring.

Hibiscus are known for their dramatic large brilliant blooms with intense colors. They come in red, white, pink, yellow and orange and may be single or double flowered. They can be trained into “tree” form or some varieties are low growing reaching only a foot in height. They make excellent borders and can be container grown. They require little maintenance and require no pruning. They are tropical and will not survive the winter outdoors.

Send me an e-mail with your comments and questions.

Bob Hearle is a certified master gardener who lives and gardens at Pawleys Island.

Previous columns

  • Bug with a tast for kudzu
  • It’s time to prune
  • A start on the new gardening year
  • Preparing for the holidays
  • Fall garden chores
  • The second season
  • Higher ed center classes
  • Plants that bring the tropics home
  • Chores for the doldrums
  • On the edge of summer
  • Plant hardiness and Zone 8B
  • Green ideas
  • Getting plants ready for spring
  • Reading your soil test
  • Prune plants for health and to promote growth
  • Seed propagation
  • Introduction / Soil tests

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