Summers offers warm days, occasional cool nights and long, long evenings (usually with mosquitoes). The hammock makes a family-centered gathering place under a shady tree. If you have no shady trees, why not plant two (at perfect hammock distance) for enjoyment in future summers!
LATE SUMMER VEGETABLES
Use all the empty space in your vegetable garden. Put down black plastic mulch when you plant. Follow your spring vegetables with broccoli, kale, collards, carrots, turnips, greens, squash and cucumbers.
Up until July 1, there’s still time to plant annual flower seeds. For a ""patch"" of color, scatter marigold, zinnia, phlox, baby’s breath, cosmos, four o’clock, sunflowers or bachelor button seed (or mix them all up and scatter them together) in a bare area. One day you’ll come home to see some flowers blooming in that forgotten patch. You won’t forget the thrill! If you have a cold frame, this is an excellent time to plant seeds of perennials and biennials, as well as pansy seeds. Plant container-grown perennials all summer, or start your own from seed. Summer’s a great time to sow biennial flowers such as forget me not, lunaria, canterbury bells, sweet william. Also start perennial seeds now -- if you have a cold frame, that’s a great place to plant. Flowers for summer planting: delphinium, shasta daisy, viola, lupine, painted daisy, coreopsis, echinacea, black eyed susan, gaillardia, hibiscus, iceland and oriental poppies, and salvia. Take me to Flower Seeds.
PLANTS FOR BIRDS
Assure yourself of bird visitors by planting sunflowers, cornflowers, cosmos, coreopsis, four o’clocks, petunias, columbine, daylilies -- either for nectar or seeds. For nesting materials, thyme, pyrethrum, yarrow. Brushy cover and evergreens are favored by birds for shelter. Fruiting trees, shrubs and vines are an invitation, too. And provide fresh water.
When you gardens are at their prettiest in summer, plan an outdoor party to show off your flowers. (more ideas) Ask your friends to bring plants to swap, or allow some time for writing some poetry in the garden, then take turns reading it.
TREES AND SHRUBS
You can plant container-grown trees and shrubs right through the summer. The major thing to do afterwards is water, water, water. Do it daily when there’s no rain. Apply around the root area, using about a gallon per shrub, more per tree.
KEEPING LAWNS GREEN
Water regularly, mow frequently but don’t mow too short, and don’t fertilize during hottest weather. August is the best time to get cool-season grasses established. These grasses love the hot days and cool nights of late summer. Plant from seed, or try Take Home Turf. It has seed embedded in an organic mat which makes planting easy. Whatever kind of lawn you plant, water diligently until the seedlings emerge.
In many areas of the East, summer brings with it water restrictions. Before this can threaten the health of your plantings of trees, shrubs and perennial flowers, put a mulch down around all planted areas. The best time to do this is right after a good soaking rain. Use several inches of shredded bark, bark chips, peat moss, composted leaves, etc. Keep the mulch an inch or sow away from the stems of your plants. You’ll conserve soil moisture and keep roots cool, too.