Perennials: Continue planting seeds of hardy perennials and biennials, also English daisies and pansies. If needed, use fungicides on phlox, zinnias, lilacs and roses. Prune climbing roses and ramblers after they have bloomed. Remove dead canes and two-year-old wood, and cut back the tops of this year’s growth about six inches. Ramblers bloom on the previous year’s wood so don’t cut too much.
Flowers: Take cuttings of fragrant geraniums to keep in the house next winter. Five inch cutting will root quickly if placed in a shady spot.
Vegetables and fruits: Fertilize tomatoes when fruits start to form. Keep watered during dry spells. Hill up the ground around leeks (to blanch them) and around corn and bean plants. Pick beans young and tender. Stay away from the bean patch if the leaves are wet. Inspect the leaves for orange clusters of bean beetle eggs and remove. After picking the first head of broccoli smaller heads will continue to grow on the same plant until fall. Thin the onions and enjoy a delicious scallion type taste.
Trees and shrubs: Finish pruning evergreens and flowering shrubs. Continue removing old rhododendron and laurel flowers to prevent energy wasting seed pods.
Lawns: Keep lawn mower sharp. If areas of lawn are brown it may be chinch bug, a grub which attacks the roots. There are least toxic products for treatment. First lift an area of browned grass and check for the presence of the pest.
Houseplants: Maintain a watering schedule. During vacation plants can be kept for two or three weeks in a mini greenhouse made from clear plastic bags. Inspect plants carefully for pests, water well and group small plants under a “tent” in north light, never sunlight. Poke small holes if the tent is large and group similar plants together. A stake will prevent the plastic from touching the plants.
General: It is easy to keep a photo journal of your spectacular flowers and vegetables — on your smart phone — to show to friends and fellow gardeners.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester