Butterfly in the lilac, Frolek Ranch, BC (Photo by NCC)

Butterfly in the lilac, Frolek Ranch, BC (Photo by NCC)

10 ways to get your garden ready for summer

Prairie rose (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Prairie rose (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Tips for maintaining your garden now that spring is in full swing:

  1. Late spring is a good time to prune or deadhead some of the early shrubs once they have finished flowering. When pruning, make sure to thin out the older wood to improve the form and vigour of your plants.
  2. Weed your beds  — now is when the seedlings of invasive or weedy plants are just getting established. This will make summer care of your beds a little easier as fewer of the weed seedlings will get established.
  3. Once all of your garden plants have begun growth, divide those that may be a bit overgrown or aggressive. Pot up the extra plants and give to family and friends or host a sidewalk sale and donate the proceeds to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
  4. Consider adding hummingbird and butterfly feeders to attract these colourful species to your garden.
  5. Ensure that water features (birdbaths, etc.) are kept clean and emptied every few days to eliminate breeding sites for mosquitoes.
  6. Set up a deep watering schedule to promote good root development. A well-developed root system will help plants weather dry spells in the summer. It is best to water early in the morning. Once the warm weather arrives, a deep soaking once a week of at least two to three centimetres of water is optimal.
  7. This is a good time to ensure you have a good cover of mulch on garden beds to conserve moisture, reduce weeds and keep the soil layer cooler in the heat of summer.
  8. Trim branches and shape shade trees to allow them to heal over the coming growing season.
  9. Keep a log (with photographs) of the birds and insects in your garden. Insects, birds and bats can be great natural pest controllers. Determine which are beneficial for control of problematic pests and research ways to maintain them in your garden.
  10. Many local horticultural societies and gardening groups advertise tours of private gardens over the course of the summer. Consider signing up with one of them.

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