Perennials: Start collecting flowers for drying. Pick them in late morning after the dew has thoroughly dried. Remove leaves from the stems and hang in small bunches. Use elastic bands to attach the bunches to coat hangers, which can be hung near the furnace or in a dry attic. Achillea, lavender and goldenrod can be dried this way.
Flowers: Continue to fertilize every other week and keep pinching off faded flowers from petunias, geraniums, snapdragons, and other annuals to keep them blooming.
Vegetables and fruits: Pick every day. The more you pick the more you get. Give away the surplus or preserve in jellies, jams and pickles. Continue monitoring for insects. Japanese beetles can be controlled by handpicking. Check tomato plants to be sure stems are tied securely to stakes: use cotton string or cloth. One tie in a figure eight form will train the leader to grow upright. Another tie 6 to 10 inches above a fruit cluster will keep the fruits from pulling down the plant with their weight. Cages are useful, too, but need additional support with stakes.
Trees and shrubs: Monitor for insect infestation and treat if the damage is severe. Summer blooming trees and shrubs include abelia, sourwood, stewartia, clethra and some viburnums.
Lawns: Mow high and often with a sharp mower. Do not treat with anything during hot and dry weather.
Houseplants: Keep them happy so that they will keep you happy next winter.
General: This is the time to be energetic about garden care, even though the weather is hot, so that weeds and bugs don’t take over. The garden will repay with lushness and beauty in late summer and fall.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester