zinnias and vincas
The UT Gardens says it's not too late to plant colorful annuals in your garden like zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' and vinca 'First Kiss Blueberry'. Photo by J. Reeves, courtesy UTIA.


Submitted by Jason Reeves, horticulturist and curator at the University of Tennessee Gardens, Jackson

June, the most popular month for weddings, is also all about being outdoors and enjoying nature. June’s a great month to enjoy the bounty of blooms in the garden.  

Jason Reeves, research horticulturalist for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Jackson, says there’s a number of things Tennesseans can do in June to benefit their gardens. One is to add annual plants to their beds.

“Just because it's almost summer doesn’t mean it is too late to plant annuals. I often don't get my annuals at home into the ground until mid to late June. Plants such as sunflowers, zinnias, Mexican sunflowers, cosmos, marigolds, basil and dill can still be direct-seeded while purchased plants can be transplanted into the garden.”

Reeves says gardeners should also think about mulch. “During the hot summer months, mulch can be especially useful for conserving water. Consider mulching your vegetable garden as well as your ornamentals. The mulch not only helps conserve moisture, but it prevents the splashing of water, reducing the spread of disease. It also adds organic matter to the soil and prevents many weeds.

Reeves has a number of tips to share:

*Trim back catmint (Nepeta) after its first flush of flowers to promote new growth and a second flush of blooms.

*Harvest herbs early in the morning when essential oil content is at its peak. The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering. This time is when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils.

*Daylilies are in peak bloom in June. It is a good time to buy new daylily selections for your garden to ensure you get the color you desire. Visit a daylily farm for the best selections, and plant them in full sun for the best flower production.

*Once daffodil foliage has turned yellow, you can mow or cut it down. If you remove it while it is still green, you decrease the amount of energy available for the bulb to store, decreasing flower size next year.

*To keep squash, cucumber and bean plants abundantly producing, harvest them frequently.

*Store leftover vegetable and flower seeds in a cool, dry location to save them for planting next year.

*Water your plants in the morning, if possible, to conserve water and reduce evaporation. Infrequent, deep watering is better than frequent, shallow watering, since deep watering promotes deep root growth. For best results, deep-water trees and shrubs once or twice a week and flowers two to three times a week. Most plants need 1 inch of rainfall per week. Pay attention to how much falls from the sky and water accordingly. If you have an automatic irrigation system, consider installing a rain sensor that adjusts for rainfall.

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