The summer garden is all about maintenance. Roll up your sleeves and tackle your chores.

Watering and fertilizing are the two most important tasks. There's no set schedule for watering. It all depends on heat, wind and lack of humidity. Fertilization should be on schedule--about every ten days for container plants and vegetables. I don't fertilize established perennials although we did spray the perennial beds with kelp after the big hail storm. That has helped them to recover. Regular fertilization has also enabled container plants to recover.

Deadheading is the second most important summer task. By continuing to remove flowers as they fade, we prevent plants from wasting energy on seed production. This applies to both annuals and perennials, although many perennials are "one time" bloomers. Deadheading them prevents unwanted seedlings and tidies up the garden.

We finally got around to re-graveling the paths in the vegetable and herb gardens. Pea gravel is the perfect material for working paths. If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, perhaps you'll recall that the drive in front of the grand house was composed of pea gravel. This is an old English tradition; it prevents muddy walkways and makes a pleasing crunch. The few weeds that come up in the pea gravel are easily spotted and easily pulled.

My proteges and I are working hard to get the garden in show shape. Our big tour to benefit Dumb Friends League is July 29 and 30. Please mark your calendars.