June 2019, Week 2

In case no one has mentioned this, a cold front is coming. Woo hoo! June cold fronts are such a rare gift. Let's hope this one gives us at least a couple of days of pleasant weather.

We do, however, begin our second week of June with a warm day on Sunday. Stay cool and hydrated everyone.

This week's cool front should, especially in the absence of rain, give us a chance to catch up on gardening chores in a slightly milder weather setting for a day or two. I'm hoping for weather that is mild enough to stay outside all day every day until the heat returns, beginning Monday.

As is typical in early June, weed populations are exploding, exacerbated by the heavy moisture that fell in May and last week in most areas. Weeding, mulching or covering weedy areas with plastic for solarization all are techniques we can utilize to deal with the weeds organically. Be sure to get weeds pulled and disposed off before they can go to seed.

Planting can continue if anyone has empty beds or nooks and crannies where 'just one more plant' can be crammed into the existing space. With the cooler weather, plants transplanted early this new week may not suffer much, if any, transplant shock. Remember that you can continue succession sowing warm-season and hot-season crops now, or you even could be sowing tomato seeds or pepper seeds in flats to raise your own tomato or pepper plants for transplanting into the fall garden.

We were in Lowe's in Ardmore briefly today, and Lillie and I were checking out the huge stock of plants remaining. We practically had the garden center to ourselves in late afternoon. It is a hot weekend here, and perhaps people felt it was too hot to be buying and transplanting plants in June. Some years it is, but so far this June, we haven't hit that high heat level yet. We saw so many options for anyone still looking to add a few things to their beds. There were tons of tropical type plants like crotons, tropical hibiscus, plumbago, mandevilla, boungainvillea, elephant ears and caladiums, as well as low-water usage type plants like cacti and succulents galore. I saw Tecoma stans (aka Yellow Bells or esparanza) 'Gold Star' at the Ardmore store, but I already have that one. Last week I added the red one ('Balls of Fire'), which I found at the Denton Lowe's. I'm still on the lookout for the orange one, 'Orange Jubilee', which I haven't been able to find in a nursery. If I don't find it, I guess the world won't end because I have the related Cape Honeysuckle, Tecoma capensis, which looks fairly similar to 'Orange Jubilee'. For me, Cape honeysuckle has proven to be perennial, perhaps because it is in very well-drained soil, but it is a later bloomer than Tecoma stans. Esperanza 'Gold Star' is not reliably hardy for me, though it sometimes comes back for a year or two if the winter is mild and not too wet.

For summer color annuals that laugh at hot weather, we saw purslane, portulaca, annual periwinkle, angelonia, marigolds, copper plants, alternanthera, fanflower, firebush, penta, and lantana. They still had come of the warm season annuals like petunias, but no one was buying those. They usually start burning up in the June heat so people here in southern OK are less likely to be planting them this late in the season.

In the perennial area, there were tons of large (gallon or larger) pots of yarrow, salvia, various kinds of rudbeckias, hardy hibiscus, Oriental lilies, daylilies, echinacea (including the newer, unusually colored ones), hardy hibiscus, veronica and autumn sage. There was a lot more, but now I can't remember what all we saw. There were so many.

There were lots and lots of shrubs, trees, vines and ground covers still in the stores. I actually am shocked at how much there was---pretty much as good of a selection as there was a month or two ago. Lillie was in love with the hydrangeas in bloom in large containers in the store. The stores down here do not put plants on clearance early like so many of them in central OK do.....perhaps because Lowe's, for example, is the only big box store in town, unless you count Wal-Mart, which has a much smaller plant selection, so there's not as much competition and no need to hurry to push stock out the door.

People who want to plant lawns (y'all know I hate lawns) still can do so. I've seen people buying sod the last couple of weekends.

As for garden chores, there's weeding, mowing, edging with the string trimmers (does anyone remember using handheld grass shears to do their edging in the days before string trimmers came along? I do), deadheading, pruning, harvesting, etc. and other tasks galore to keep us all busy.

Now that it is June and the weather is heating up, be on the lookout for:




--spider mites

--grasshopper nymphs

--squash bugs and squash vine borers

--leaf-footed bugs, especially on fruiting plants

--stink bugs, especially on tomato plants

--Japanese Beetles if you're in a part of the state where they are found


--scorpions (they like to hide under pieces of wood or fabric or plastic lying on the soil surface)

--venomous snakes

There. That's the round-up of possible gardening activity on my mind as we enter the second week of June. Notice that I didn't even mention watering? It is such a rare year that we are not already irrigating heavily and I'm just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. Tim is in hog heaven, just delighted with the fact that our latest water bill and electric bill are 'normal' and not in the stratosphere yet because of the heat. lol.

The official weather outlooks actually look fairly promising for us to continue to have some cooler and wetter conditions not just for the rest of the month, but for the rest of the summer. I saw some news out of Texas this morning that they were sweltering down there with extremely high heat index numbers in south Texas yesterday---as high as 129 degrees. The highest heat index I saw for that area today was 117. That's too hot for me. It may feel bad here on some of these hot days but nothing like that yet. Let's hope it stays that way.


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