Dry soils postpone planting and time’s a’wastin’ to get plants of overwintering annuals into the ground in the Southeast US and anywhere conditions are similar to USDA Zones 8 & 9. Every pansy-type of plant, flowering cabbage and kale, calendula, foxglove…you name it, plant it now. Perennial seeds and the fabulous reseeding larkspur seeds can be sown now, and flowering sweet peas soon after. If you are prepared to protect a patch of greens, plant them now from seed or transplants. Yes, there are plants in the garden centers, probably on sale. And you can find directions for an easy cloche in Ya’ Mama’s Blog.
The heat and relentless wind of the past few weeks let me postpone pruning the climbing roses, but it must be done or next year’s new growth will topple the trellises and scratch the sky. I know I’m supposed to take them off the trellis, cut back to fit the trellis and then thin out the old canes. Sounds simple, but a big climber like ‘Peggy Martin’ can be complicated. By now the Flower Carpet types (I love ‘Amber’) have bloomed yet again and need deadheading. My only knock on these vigorous, lovely roses is that they need pruning 3 times a year to keep them at low hedge level!
It’s time to dig, divide and replant perennials. You can do this anytime that you can plan on 2-3 weeks before a hard freeze usually occurs in your area. If you are digging up offsets to pot up, there’s no real time limit. Bury the pots in a mulch pile to root without freezing.
That cold, yet not freezing, place has another great tenant right now – pots of bulbs. This spot can be under the north side of an old house, in a cold closet or shed or in an old refrigerator usually reserved for beer and watermelons. Set it on 45 degrees for pots of paperwhite narcissus, hyacinth and tulips. See Ya' Mama's Blog for more on bulbs and coaxing them to flower.