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Is it too late to plant a garden in july

Is it too late to plant a garden in july


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Is it too late to plant a garden in july?

It's too late for vegetables, but what about herbs? They're supposed to be sown in the spring, but you may be able to make your garden bloom again this year.

(CNN) -- With the arrival of a new dog, Ellie Dodds of Haverhill, Massachusetts, started pampering her pet, "Burtie," by creating a water feature in the backyard. "He's the only thing I've got left in my life, and I can't bear to waste anything," says Dodds, who is a stay-at-home mom.

For her garden, Dodds began by adding color, but there were other reasons to start planting. "My garden is an indoor/outdoor garden," she says, "with a pathway that connects the two." She wants to get the best use out of her yard and, by extending the paths around the garden, she creates a wonderful "living room for Burtie and me," she says.

(Splash Splash Pool offers "an expanded range of options, including umbrellas, pool slides and a waterslide for maximum swimming fun and water play in any weather," says Darcy Black, president of Pools Unlimited, a pool and spa company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. "We have manufactured pools and backyards from miniature to giant, with an experience for every outdoor space. Our goal is to be the premier provider of water features for pool owners and backyard gardeners.")

The backyard fountain wasn't her only addition to her home. "I was amazed at the amount of moisture that accumulates on lawns in the summer," Dodds says. So, she built a water feature that didn't require shoveling. "It's an oasis, " she says.

(A water feature is a simple trick, but it can dramatically change a home's décor and enhance the way it looks.)

Still, Dodds isn't necessarily expecting it to be in tip-top shape for next summer. "With Burtie, it's not fair to expect an ordinary garden," she says. "I want it to be his place, and I want it to be magical. It will look gorgeous, but he'll have to wait a few years before I have to worry about bringing it in."

"We start the seeds the day after my son's birthday," Tom Haithcock says. "It's very similar to his sixth birthday, which was a garden party. He would be all over the yard, and we planted the last of the seeds."

And, this year is different. Haithcock's son, Mason, is old enough to help. "Mason loves gardening and learning about plants," Haithcock says. "I think it's going to be a very good year for growing."

The first of two things Haithcock is planning this summer are dahlias -- really huge, bold-colored dahlias. "The challenge is to create a very attractive and very large garden," he says. "We've had to eat a lot of bugs, because we have such large beds."

While many gardeners struggle with keeping their paths and gardens mowed, Haithcock says that his lawn only needs to be mowed once a month, and the grass will grow back quickly if the area is allowed to lie fallow. "Our drought is the most significant challenge we face," he says. "The soil is very dry."

(It's too late to plant a garden for the fall -- but you may be able to get a head start for spring.)

Like Tom Haithcock, Paul Johnson has a thirst for water. "We have very little rainfall here," he says.

When the ground is completely dry, it's time to start seeding. "We get ready for planting by setting aside time to plant in the spring," he says. "This year we want to have all the time and materials to make it a better-than-last year garden."

(As a landscaper and greenhouse owner, he recommends creating a fall garden, or a garden in the fall. Not only is it a better time to plant than the spring, but "you can go to your local nursery to check on what's in demand and on sale. These plants will be ready to go by the time you have a full garden of seeds ready to go.")

As a side note, Johnson says that if you're going to plant your seeds in the fall, plant some more than you need, since that garden will be ready for the spring.

"We always have a conversation about where we live," Johnson says. "Our lawn is only about 4 feet tall. It's more for looks than for the wildlife."

"We like birds," he says. "Not only does it look good, but we're building habitat, so they'll feel comfortable being outside."

The path around the backyard garden, once a petunia bed, is now home to salvia and nasturtium, a colorful border of bachelor buttons and bicolors, and two spotty rockers.

(For gardeners who have gardens that lie fallow, seeding in the fall can save a lot of time. Just dig a hole for your plant, insert the stem with the root ball, and then let it set. You'll have a planter that will grow just like any other, but you'll be able to plant it up and go about your business in a few weeks. Or, you can start seeds in the fall, make sure they're germinated, and then plant them in the spring.)

Johnson's plan this year is to start the butterfly bushes with chocolate mint and then add asparagus. "Last year, we didn't get the asparagus," he says. "This year we'll be ready for it, and we'll plant a lot more perennials this year."

"We have a cat that brings in rodents," he says. "The only solution was to add deer fencing to the south of the garden. They'll come into the garden but can't eat the plants. We've


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