By Cynthia Brian
“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” Richard Sheridan
Ask any gardener who grows a multitude of roses what they think of the species, and you’ll probably get an answer that sounds seriously star-struck. I am a dedicated devotee of roses. They consistently amaze me with their resilience, beauty, and bountiful blooms. It wasn’t until the end of February that I completed my heavy pruning, and by the end of April, the roses had sprouted new shoots and were already in full bloom. This month, the flowers are even larger and more plentiful. Depending on the variety, each flush lasts approximately three to four weeks from bud to deadheading. Over the years I have created multiple rose rooms that continue to delight me throughout the year. If you have not added roses to your landscape, please put them on your bucket list to plant next year. Once established, they don’t require much water, and with a bit of TLC, you, too, will enjoy seasons of splendor. To keep your roses bug-free, add a few cloves of garlic around the base of each trunk. Mix a cup of alfalfa pellets into the soil in March to increase the nitrogen for greener leaves.
Entertaining in the summer garden is my favorite manner to gather friends and family for al fresco dining, conversation, and laughter. There is always so much to celebrate in June–the end of school, graduations, Father’s Day, birthdays, showers, and weddings. This is the time to spruce up the yard in anticipation of the summer to come. Because of the pandemic, for the past two-plus years, I have spent countless hours working in the garden yet have not entertained friends or family. The garden is thriving with my diligence, and I have been reaping the health benefits of my efforts in my body, mind, and spirit.
The leaves of the spring bulbs as well as the naked lady bulbs that will bloom later in the season have all dried like hay, making the garden appear messy. I’ve pulled multiple garbage bins of them for the compost pile along with so many buckets of weeds that I’ve lost count.
Butterflies are plentiful in my garden as they flutter from flower to flower. Swallowtails are in abundance as are several different white and yellow flyers that I haven’t identified. After I rescued a bee from a swimming pool, it returned to sting me on my back. No good deed goes unpunished! If you get stung by a bee, remove the stinger immediately, make a paste of baking soda mixed with water, add vinegar, and apply to the sting to ease the pain and swelling. If you are allergic to bees or are stung by a swarm, call 911. With all the lizards, frogs, birds, bees, and butterflies, my garden is vigorously growing and feeding the beneficials.
Enjoy your green lawns now because as the temperatures heat up, brown spots will appear. Since the water district has mandated a 10% water use reduction District-wide, expect that lawns will not look as lush and lovely as they do now. Make sure to water deeply early in the morning or early evening only once a week to keep the roots alive. Mow the grass to three inches and if possible, do not use a bag when mowing. The cut grasses re-nourish the lawn and will help it stay greener longer.
From what I’ve gathered from numerous scientific data, the pandemic is not over and in fact, new variants may make life more challenging by the fall. In the meantime, I’ll be diligent and careful while I continue cutting my roses for glorious indoor bouquets to boost my spirits. As an eternal optimist, I always see the world through rose-colored glasses.
Congratulations to all the graduates everywhere. Go into the garden and introduce yourself to the roses. Life is coming up roses!
Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June
ü LEARN to identify insects and diseases to better detect problems early.
ü ENCOURAGE natural enemies such as toads, lizards, snakes, birds, ladybugs, and praying mantis.
ü ROTATE crops to avoid depleting the soil and building up pests.
ü MAKE your own potting mix by combining equal parts of compost
ü BEWARE of the deadly plant, poison hemlock. Identify it by its red spots. Wear gloves and a mask when weeding.
ü WATER lawns and flowerbeds deeply to encourage strong root growth.
ü HARVEST seeds of perennials like penstemon, calendula, and poppies to spread in other areas where color is needed.
ü SUCCESSION planting is the key to a plentiful supply of summer greens including lettuces, arugula, beets, carrots, and radishes. Sow your favorite seeds every three weeks as you consume.
ü PREVENT fires by removing debris, dead branches, and refuse from around your home and yard.
ü WEED a final time before the hot weather arrives. Weeds suck the moisture and nutrients from nearby plants.
ü PLANT bottlebrush as a large privacy screen and bee magnet.
ü CLEAN patio furniture. Freshen your outdoor look with paint, new cushions, or throw pillows.
ü CUT bouquets of roses to enhance your indoor rooms.
ü WANT a perennial that blooms year-round? The delicate Santa Barbara daisy is easy to grow and lives in unison with roses.
ü DETER raccoons from rolling back your lawn searching for grubs by putting down fruit tree netting which they dislike on their feet.
ü MAKE your voice heard. VOTE in the elections.
Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.
Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.
Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.