by Debbie Clark

The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and the gardens are in full bloom. The bridge has reopened after it was closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. “Thank you” to all those dedicated volunteers who continued to give their time and talents to maintain and prepare the gardens for the reopening. 

What to do in the home garden for July and August

Side dress your garden vegetables and give landscape plants a last fertilizing for the year in July.

Start fall vegetable plants like carrots, beans, brussel sprouts and tomatoes in July.

Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers plants can be started in peat pots and later moved into the garden in August.

Start repotting up houseplants before they are moved back inside.

Prune trees like maple, dogwood, elm and birch in July.

Prune to the ground fruiting canes of raspberry and blackberry plants after the fruit has been picked in July.

Deadhead flowers on perennials and annuals. 

Flowering spring shrubs need to be pruned by mid-July. Do not fertilize shrubs after late August.

Continue to spray roses for pest and disease problems. Hand pick Japanese beetles and drown in a bowl of water with liquid dishwashing soap added.

Do not fertilize tall fescue or bluegrass in July. Feed Zoysia lawns only. Treat your lawn for grubs in August.

Make sure plants are getting 1 inch of water per week.

Watch for blossom-end rot in tomatoes and other insect pest in the vegetable garden.

Plant of the Month – Hydrangeas 

This time of the season the hydrangeas are in bloom on the Flowering Bridge and they get lots of attention from bridge visitors. There are six types of hydrangeas for the home gardener and the bridge has all six types to enjoy. 

The six types are Bigleaf – Hydrangea macrophylla, Smooth – Hydrangea arborescens, Panicle – Hydrangea paniculata, Oakleaf – Hydrangea quercifolia, Climbing – Hydrangea anomala ssp. Petiolaris, and Mountain – Hydrangea serrata

Hydrangeas are easy to grow and come in many sizes from 3 feet to 40 feet like the climbing hydrangea. Bloom color range from white, pink, purple, red, blue or a mix of colors. All six types will grow in our zone 7 area. Some hydrangeas can take full sun, part sun or full shade depending on the hydrangea you select. Make sure you read the plant tag for correct sun exposure. 

Many visitors to the bridge ask about changing the bloom colors on their bigleaf hydrangeas. It’s best to not try changing your soil and allow the plant to bloom the color it should depending on your soil composition. 

Another question that we hear is “why did my hydrangea not bloom”? The answer is, “Does it grow on old or new wood”. If you have a very old hydrangea (which bloom on old wood) that sometimes blooms and some years doesn’t, you may have lost your buds during the winter due to cold or you may have accidentally pruned your buds away since they formed the year before. Most new varieties of bigleaf hydrangeas grow on new and old wood which means you will get flowers. Stop by the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge to enjoy all of the hydrangeas that we grow.

Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Classes

Don’t forget that we offer classes on various garden topics during the year that are free for the public to attend. Stop by the bridge to check on upcoming classes dates and times due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

This is a mountain hydrangea which blooms in pink or blue. It grows 2 to 4 feet in height and spread and prefers part shade. It is a good choice to grow in a container. It blooms from June to August on old wood.

Big leaf hydrangeas grow from 6 to 10 feet in height and spread. Bloom time is from June to October and it prefers part to full shade. Blooms on new and old wood.

Panicle hydrangeas grow between 8 to 15 feet and have a 6 to 12 foot spread. They can grow in full sun to part shade and blooms from July to September. Blooms on new growth.

This smooth top hydrangea or “Annabelle” grows between 3 to 5 feet wide and tall. It prefers full sun with plenty of moisture or part shade.  It blooms from June to September. It grows on new wood with bloom colors of white or pink.

Oakleaf hydrangeas prefer full sun to part shade. They grow from 6 to 8 feet in height and width. Their blooms are from July to September. The blooms are very pretty and will change color as they age. Blooms on old wood.

Debbie Clark is a Master Gardener, LLFB board member and garden volunteer.