MY GARDEN PATH: Please … water those trees!

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ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press A yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly sips nectar on my sweet William.

This terribly hot weather is really stressing our trees. Iím starting to see some dying and dead ones. Keep in mind that the lawn sprinkler water is NOT enough to keep your trees alive, especially when itís hot.

To keep those trees alive, pull out your garden hose. Lay the end of it, without an attachment, at the edge of the drip line. Thatís right under the outer row of leaves or needles. Then turn it on to a steady drip and leave it there overnight.

If you havenít finished planting those irises, donít wait any longer. Remember, these need a lot of time to get established before cold weather comes. Right now, that almost sounds good, huh?

Have you ever wondered which fruits continue to ripen after being picked and which ones donít. Donít wonder any longer.

Fruits that donít ripen after picking: Cherries, citrus (orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit), cucumbers, grapes, pineapples, pomegranates, watermelons, soft berries such as raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Fruits that do ripen after picking: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, figs, guava, honeydew, kiwis, mangoes, cantaloupes, nectarines, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plantains plums, quince and tomatoes.

Dianthus, aka ďpinks,Ē should be sheared back far enough now to cut off the dried flower heads that are trying to go to seed. Doing this should coax out another batch of blooms before summer is over.

Keep deadheading those long blooming perennials for continued flowers. These include coreopsis, black-eyed Susans and coneflowers. These are very easy to grow as they do not require rich soil or fertilizer. Give them full sun and donít let them dry out and they will reward you with blossoms for many months.

If you enjoy seeing the birds and butterflies, you need to avoid pesticides in your yard whenever possible. Donít have the whole yard sprayed as a deterrent. Instead, just use a handheld spot sprayer if the need should arise. Just remember, those hummingbirds you enjoy donít just eat from your feeders, theyíre also chowing down on the flowers in your yard. I donít think you want to feed them poison for dinner.

Be careful when choosing perennials for your yard. Too often biennials are labeled as perennials. As you know, perennials will come back year after year. Biennials are a whole other thing. These have a two-year life cycle: year one is just a short plant with no blooms, year two is when the plant shoots up a stalk and blooms. Then the plant dies. Some common biennials include: Hollyhock, foxgloves, forget-me-nots and sweet williams. Let a few of them go to seed and soon youíll have these plants in both year one and year two phases.

I write this ahead of time, but according to the forecast, this was to be the hottest week of the year. Being from Montana, Iíd almost rather see snow! Even tomato plants stop blooming when the weather gets too hot.

• ē ē

Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently serving as secretary for the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column appears in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October.

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