July days in the garden are finally slowing down

Published 9:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2014

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

My days in the gardens this time of the year are not quite as hectic as they were in May while I was planting containers and seeds in the gardens. I have a routine that I try to follow every day of the week, except Sunday, and on that day I only water later in the day. Sometimes it feels like all I do is water everything when it has been a hot and windy day, but the containers quickly dry out on those kinds of days. With the time and money I have invested in the plants I surely don’t want them to die.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

My mornings are started by filling the jugs in the water cart so that I can get all of the containers watered in the back yard. I have two large laundry tubs that sit under the downspouts to collect rain. That will let me water the containers usually for two days if they are full of water. If not, I fill the containers from the hose. My brother talked me into buying a cart last year while I was recovering from a broken wrist — what a lifesaver that has been for me to not have to carry jugs filled with water in my arms or drag the hose around.

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On Saturdays the water cart holds a large plastic tub that I mix Miracle-Gro and water in to fertilize the plants. I also have normal water jugs so that I can just go from container to container to fertilize and then water. This has worked out quite well for me and it usually it only takes me about an hour to water everything.

When I get to the front of the house it’s time to haul out the hose to water the two hanging baskets of dragon wing begonias and the containers in front and along the north side of the house. I also clean out the birdbath and fill it with clean water.

I have one of those crazy hoses that coils itself up. It is very lightweight, and I really love it. Last year I went through about a dozen of them, but now, after the company that makes them was sued by many retailers and customers, the new ones are much stronger and don’t burst on me all the time. They were a lifesaver for me last year as I didn’t have the strength in my left arm to haul the hose around that I had before. It was construction grade and very heavy.

Annual rudbeckia bloom in one of Lang’s July gardens from last summer. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Annual rudbeckia bloom in one of Lang’s July gardens from last summer. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

On Tuesday I spend the time deadheading plants and weeding the gardens. That’s not to say I don’t do this on other days, because as I walk through the garden doing chores I will also pull out weeds when I see them. Again, my cart really comes in handy as I can carry my tools along in the cart with me as well as a small tub to put the weeds into. I used to throw the weeds on the ground and would have to backtrack and pick them up when I was finished.

When the weather is really hot I will water both in the morning and the evening. During the rest of the week I spend my time watering, weeding and deadheading as necessary. I like to photograph the gardens in the early morning before the sun gets up too high and you will also find me with my garden journal making notes.

Once the sun gets high in the sky I try not to work in the gardens as it is just too hot with the little shade that I have. That’s my time to go indoors and write my columns, do laundry and complete other chores that need to get done.

With the month of July the gardens start to really come into full bloom with the daylilies, lilies, rudbeckia, phlox and many annuals that I have planted. It seems more visitors stop by to visit the gardens. I love taking people on mini tours and explaining about the different flowers that I grow and that this is a wildlife habitat.


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at carolhegellang@gmail.com.