ELAINE CERNY: MY GARDEN PATH — It’s a great time for growing

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ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press My favorite pink iris is called Beverly Sills.

We can only hope that June doesn’t fly by as quickly as May did. Now that summer is here, it would be great if time would just slow down a bit.

Some people may be done planting, but lots of us continue to put in more stuff. It’s just too hard to see an empty bed or even an empty pot without visualizing what would look good there. Am I right?

Remember the tried-and-true rules for planting pots. Select 3 plants: a thriller, a filler and a spiller. You all know that means a tall plant, a spreading plant and a draping one. If there is room for more, just tuck in more of the same.

Colors are so important whether you are planting a big area in the yard or just a small container. Don’t make it too busy! Two or three colors are best for eye appeal. The old-fashioned “color wheel” is a good resource as you can easily see which ones compliment each other.

Be sure to sprinkle in some long-lasting fertilizer pellets at the time of planting. This is a lot easier than remembering to fertilize every couple of weeks throughout the whole growing season.

If you don’t like looking at the dried-up flower heads on your lilacs, just clip them off. Remember to do any trimming of those bushes this month. You don’t want to cut off next year’s buds by waiting too long.

Go ahead and clip off those dying tulip leaves. If they’re still green, wait a while. The same goes for any other spring blooming bulbs. Speaking of which, be sure to get those gladiola bulbs planted soon as it takes about two months for them to bloom. For a longer bloom time, don’t plant them all at once.

Keep washing out and refilling those hummer feeders. It’s also a good idea to take down any seed feeders occasionally to clean. Wash them thoroughly, let dry and refill. Dirty feeders can cause fatal bird diseases.

Now that summer has arrived, so have the mosquitoes. Take a few minutes to walk around your yard once or twice a week, dumping out any standing water. It takes very little for mosquitoes to lay eggs in. They will quickly hatch.

If you enjoy seeing butterflies and birds in your yard, do not use pesticides. These not only kill what you’re aiming at; the residue will kill any desired creature too. Remember, a bug may be a pest to you, but it’s “dinner” to a bird!

• • •

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 to late October.

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