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Practical Gardening Monthly

Hello Gardening Friends!  July is here! Besides tending to our gardens ... make time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your landscape efforts.  Many perennials are at their peak this month.  Butterflies and hummingbirds are frequent welcome visitors, and cheery annuals are bursting with color.

Read on for a handy July Garden "To Do" list, more flower fun facts, zone 5 & 6 garden inspiration, plus discover what's new and blooming at ...

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."

Alfred Austin

Latest Flower Chick Posts
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Flower Chick's Favorite Perennials for Zone 5
Perennials For Zone 5 / 6

Perennials is a term that describes what many gardeners and homeowners strive for, which is a plant that comes back every spring! Pretty much just plant it and you can enjoy it for years to come. 

There are perennial plants that can meet just about every landscape need and location. Continue reading for my favorite Zone 5/6 perennials …

Discover Easy Care Perennials
Creating A Memory Garden

Creating a memory garden is a lovely way to honor a loved one … be it a close relative, good friend, or a beloved pet. If you’ve lost someone who’s near and dear to your heart you can create a garden in their memory so you can think of them whenever you’re passing by.

Some things you might want to incorporate into a memory garden, include favorite ...

How To Design A Memory Garden

July Garden "To Do" List:

  • Deadhead - the secret to a long summer flower show is deadheading.  Remove dead blooms on annuals, perennials, and roses. Snipping dead blossoms encourages the plant to form more flower buds.
  • Water - check your container gardens / hanging baskets daily; water when soil is dry. Give plants a water soluble bloom booster fertilizer every two weeks to increase the floral show.
  • Prop Don't Flop - flop-prone perennials include aster, goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, and Russian sage. To prevent this, cut plants back by one-third by the first week of July. Also stake your tall veggie plants like tomatoes and peppers so they don't drag on the ground.
  • Disease Prevention - clean up as you harvest. Toss overgrown or rotting produce on the compost heap or in the garbage. Remove dying plant matter, which can attract diseases and pests.
  • Fertilize Container Gardens Regularly - watering flushes out many nutrients. For best results, use a special bloom-boosting fertilizer on flowering plants.
  • Inspect Plants for Japanese Beetles  especially roses, gourds, pumpkins, and squash. Read this for more tips to eradicate them.
  • Start Seeds - start fall seeds inside such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Two types of plants are good bets to thrive when planted in midsummer—those that mature quickly and those that tolerate frost.
  • Cut Back Spent Perennials - Daylilies, daisies, catmint, and salvia respond well to a cut-back with a fresh flush of growth.
  • Apply No Fertilizers to trees and shrubs after July 4th. Fertilizing late may cause lush growth that is apt to winter kill.
  • Best In Show Veggies - blossom-end rot of tomato and peppers occurs when soil moisture is uneven. Water when soils begin to dry; maintain a 2-3 inch layer of mulch.
Travel To Midwestern Gardens

Need a little gardening inspiration? Looking for some cheer and vicarious travel?  Get inspired by the Midwest’s beautiful botanical gardens, arboretums, and other stunning natural attractions! Join us as we visit these wonderful Zone 5 & Zone 6 sites.  

Follow along and plan your own trips … you’ll even find a guide of local attractions to enjoy in the various towns and cities. Come back often as we keep adding new posts to our Illinois Gardens , Indiana Gardens, Iowa GardensMichigan Gardens & Wisconsin Gardens categories.

Visit Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL

Cantigny Park is a joy to behold! Located approximately 30 miles west of Chicago, Cantigny has a rich history and offers 30 acres of spectacular gardens that change every season.

The various garden sections are creatively and cleverly planned.  Cantigny’s rose garden is one of my all-time favorites! A fabulous collection of both traditional roses and newer varieties … it never disappoints.

Indiana Dunes & Friendship Botanic Gardens

Friendship Botanic Gardens is a local treasure … an oasis of formal gardens mixed with nature trails tucked in an old-growth forest surrounding Trail Creek in Michigan City, Indiana. 

Plan to spend several hours here, pick up a map and then hit the trails … you can even bring your dog friends for some fresh air and exercise.

See Bickelhaupt Arboretum and Gardens

Bickelhaupt Arboretum is located in Clinton, Iowa - tucked along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, this is a true “river city”. A relatively small but lively community of just over 25,000, Clinton is steeped in history …

There are many plant collections on display including daylilies, peonies, hostas, roses, and award-winning conifers. 

Visiting Wisconsin's Boerner Botanical Gardens

With a dozen themed gardens, all blooming at different times of the year, Boerner Botanical Gardens always offers something new to see each time you visit.  

The spectacular gardens include the Rose Garden, Shrub Mall, Annual Garden, Herb Garden, Daylilly Walk, Rock Garden and Peony Garden.

Do you like sharing stories?

Is there a botanical garden, arboretum, or nature area you love and would like to see us feature in a future issue?  Please share below ...

Tell Us About Your Favorite Garden in Zone 5 / 6

Did you know ... 5 Fun Facts About the Canna Lily -

These tropical, exotic looking beauties add a  strong ornamental interest to your garden.  They can grow year round in frost-free climates.  Here in zones 5 & 6, you can dig them up before the first frost and store them over the winter before planting the rhizomes (tubers) the next spring.

Canna lilies look superb as a focal point in container gardens, or as a flamboyant back drop in garden beds!  They come in luscious eye-catching shades of yellow, orange, red, pink or cream.  Yum!


  1.  They're Not Actually A Lily! -  Canna lilies belong to the Cannaceae family, not the Liliaceae family (lillies). They are most closely related to ginger and banana plants, hence the showy and large foliage!
  2. Please Pass The Cannas - Canna rhizomes are edible and rich in starch and were once a staple foodcrop in Peru & Ecuador. When cooked they have a taste resembling sweet potato.
  3. Those Crafty Cannas - The seed pods of cannas are very tough and spiny, so they are great for making musical instruments, jewelry, baby rattles, and even ammunition.
  4.  Beware Of A Canna Invasion - They can be pretty invasive.  Due to the nature of the canna lily, the rhizomes cover an extensive surface area for roots. Though this can be a plus for getting them to spread in your garden, when cannas are introduced to areas near waterways, they can be detrimental. 
  5. Oodles Of Noodles -  Canna is grown for human consumption in the Andes, Vietnam and southern China, where the starch is used to make tasty cellophane noodles.

Dear Gardening Friends, Thanks so much for reading!!  I hope you enjoyed the July newsletter and picked up a few tips and inspiration that you can use in your own gardens. 

Take care, get outside, savor nature and the joys of summer. I'll be back in early August with more gardening fun and advice. Looking forward to visiting more botanical gardens soon and sharing with you! 

~ Laura a.k.a. Flower Chick

P.S. Click on the social icons below to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest!

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