Happy Summer! Gardening in our sandy soil is never easy and during sweltering summer days it’s not even pleasant. But, in the morning’s dawning and in the long, lovely evenings there is usually a sea breeze to bless your labors. And the sultry season with its slower pace gives you time to spend indoors learning and dreaming of your ideal garden. Exploring books, magazines, and the internet you’ll find boundless riches of inspiration and know-how. The more you know the less work you’ll have to do, I promise. Garden knowledge helps you achieve a beautiful and satisfying garden with less effort and you’ll avoid a lot of disappointment.
So, when it’s just too hot, humid, and buggy to be outdoors dive in and educate yourself about your soil, zone 10-A plants adapted to your landscape situation and your available level of care. Use the dog days of summer to create a landscape plan. Keeping in mind the basic principles of garden design consider how you want your garden to look in a year, two years, even five years from now.
ELEMENTS OF LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Pineapple Bud by Georgia O’Keefe, 1939, Honolulu Museum of Art
JUNE- WHAT TO PLANT
Annuals: Annuals that can take full sun during the increasingly hot summer months include celosia, portulaca, vinca, and some coleus. See Annuals
Palms: Summer's warm, rainy months are the perfect time to plant palms. Make sure not to cover the trunk with soil. See Palms
Trees: “How to Plant Trees in the Landscape”
Herbs: Plant heat-loving herbs, including basil, ginger, summer savory, cumin, Mexican tarragon, and rosemary. See Herbs
Vegetables: Plant okra, southern pea, calabaza, Malabar spinach, and sweet potato. It is too late to plant tomatoes except for seedling cherries and wild Everglades.
See Vegetable Gardening in Florida
JUNE – WHAT TO DO
Deadhead spent flowers to stimulate new blooms.
Pests: Monitor the landscape and garden weekly for harmful insects. Knowing which insects attack a plant can aid in identification and treatment. See Landscape Pest Management
Mow lawns at recommended heights: •
St. Augustine & Bahia: 3-4”,
Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5”,
Irrigation: Watch for drought stress and water as needed if rainfall has been spotty. Focus on new plantings and follow watering restrictions. When rains begin, shut down the irrigation system. See Landscape Irrigation
Propagation: Produce more plants by air layering, grafting, division, or cuttings. See Seeds and Propagation (Land and Garden):
Palms and cycads: Watch for nutrient deficiencies or other problems and use an appropriate treatment. Keep lawn fertilizers away from the root zone. See Palm Care
Pruning: Lightly prune summer-flowering shrubs, like hibiscus, oleander, ixora, and crape myrtle, during the warmer months because they bloom on new growth. See Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs