Essential Summer Maintenance for a Healthy Garden

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I just came in from doing a bit of garden maintenance. I gather a bucket and my garden snips and walk around my large privacy fenced patio to visit all the container plants, herbs and vines in my patio garden. If vegetables are ready to be picked, I place them on my garden bench.

Some would hesitate to cut the beautiful flowers, I know. But if they are growing leggy, I take the snippers to them. Some might call it brutal, watching the pretty flowers fall to the cement. But I know it is important to keep the plants trimmed in order to have healthy growth.

Once you trim back the leggy portions of your plants, they will grow back in a different form. The energy that goes all the way down that leggy stem is put to better use. The plant will become fuller and more rounded.

Then I hose down the cement to get rid of the plant debris that fell victim to my snippers. I stand back and gaze at my beautiful garden, at the various galvanized, terra cotta and plastic containers full of lush plants. I even plant sedum in big pieces of driftwood.

My patio garden gives me months of gorgeous blooms, fresh vegetables and herbs, and vines winding up the fence.

Then I wash out the bird baths and refill them with fresh water. This should be done on a daily basis. I am rewarded with lots of birds visiting me, singing me awake each morning. It is a glorious sound that I never grow tired of.

Such is my heaven on earth right behind my one level apartment. My garden changes with the seasons. The annuals give me a lot of bang for my buck, but fade away at the end of summer. The perennials edge back up through the soil in my containers every spring after a long winter’s sleep.

It is essential to a healthy garden to do regular maintenance. But remember, you can gather those flower stems and put them in a jar of water in your kitchen and enjoy them that way. Then you won’t feel so bad about taking the snippers to your plants while keeping your garden healthy and robust.

Photos by Brenda Pruitt

Mother Earth Living
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