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It’s more or less the middle of the gardening season here in my zone 5 garden. It’s the point at which some areas of the garden are cruising along and others, neglected still, are looking worse than ever. They’ll be dealt with when time, temperature and the mosquito population allows. The urge is to sit back, relax and enjoy the garden.

And you should, but don’t rest on your gardening laurels for too long as suddenly the good parts of the garden will start to look like the neglected bits.

So in the spirit of doing a little something in the garden—but not too much—here are five things you can do in your garden now.

Prune roses but cutting back to a set of five leaves.

Stay on top of the deadheading or else the flowers that just faded may be your last. In my garden right now I’m mostly going after spent roses (cut back to a set of five leaves) and just starting to keep a close eye on the dahlias. Here’s a quick video I did on deadheading dahlias if you’re not sure how.


If you’ve gotten all the big weeding out of the way, you’ll just have to worry about the little guys that poke up. Oxalis is a common one in my garden. The good news about this kind of weeding is that you can usually do it with just your fingers and you can definitely do it one handed, leaving the other one free to hold a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a gin and tonic.


It’s a drag, I know, but this is high season for watering. The good news is that watering can be kind of cathartic, so consider it a bit of a mental break. Don’t forget to fertilize containers regularly. Even if you added time release fertilizer when you planted, most container plants are getting big enough by this point in the year that they need more nourishment.

Prune Spireas right after blooming.
This Spirea is still looking pretty good but about half the blooms are spent  and it’s time to prune. Cutting it back deadheads it and allows me to shape it for next year. 


For a lot of shrubs, the time to prune is right after the flower. Many shrubs bloom on the previous year’s growth, so pruning right after they finish blooming allows time for them to put on new growth and next year’s flower buds.  I’ve pruned most of my Spireas in the past couple weeks to keep them a little in check without sacrificing next year’s flowers.


Odds are your garden is nearing its peak. If something isn’t looking just right, make a note about what you could change for the long term to get it there.

Check off that list and then get back to that first thing we talked about: sitting back and enjoying your garden. You deserve it.

5 jobs to be doing in your garden now

5 Responses

    1. Where do you live? We’re in West Michigan and haven’t had rain in several weeks! Between that and the heat, we’re watering everything every morning and evening. Send some of that rain our way, please!?

  1. Thanks for the reminder that I meant to cut back my mums one more time before it hits 99 degrees today!

  2. Dont forget time to put another application of Preen weed preventer down. It works good for about 3 months preventing a giant weed infestation, especially after all the rain we've had plus hot temps. I swear by it.

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