ELAINE CERNY: MY GARDEN PATH — Hot enough for you?

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Photo by ELAINE CERNY Bulbzilla is my tallest lily, at more than 5 feet.

The lilies are blooming up a storm now. I love the Asian ones as they bloom first. Then, the Orientals do their thing and smell divine. The one pictured is a tall Oriental variety and lords it over the rest of them. These are all “true” lilies, not daylilies.

It’s been a real challenge to keep things watered lately. The days have been living up to the idea of this being the hottest time of the year.

Hanging baskets are probably the worst as they dry out at the drop of a hat. White baskets reflect the sun better than dark ones and the bigger the basket the better.

Be sure to keep those trees watered or they may not make it through next winter. The little dab they get from lawn sprinklers just isn’t enough. A hose left to barely drip all night under them works much better.

Another plant that must not be allowed to dry out is the tomato. If that does happen, the fruit will be ruined. When it comes to lawns, this is the time of year to adjust your mower so the grass doesn’t get cut so low. Lawns can survive the hot weather much better if the grass is taller.

With the hummingbirds continuing to visit our yards, you might see them going after nectar in some of these plants: cardinal flower, bee balm, penstemon, hosta, catmint, agastache, columbine, honeysuckle, salvia and zinnia.

Rufous hummers are one of the varieties who visit our area in summer. They are quite noisy and love to chase off the other birds. Rufous males have orange markings and can easily be told from the calliope varieties as those males have the bright purple stripes on their throats.

If you’re feeling ambitious, those long blooming perrenials can always stand to be deadheaded. This will keep them blooming until cold weather arrives. Some of the longest blooming perennials include black-eyed susans, coriopsis and coneflowers.

If your lettuce plants have “bolted,” go ahead and yank them out of the garden. Lettuce do not enjoy hot weather. If you aren’t familiar with “bolted,” it just means that the lettuce plant has gone to seed and is done for. Probably the best way to grow them is to do so early in spring and then plant a second crop in fall. For mid-summer salads, you’re better off buying your lettuce at the grocery store.

Something to keep in mind, “Gardeners know the best dirt!”

• • •

Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently serving as secretary for the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column appears in The Press every other Sunday from early March to late October.

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