Make the inside of your home as fragrant as the outdoors
This is a good time to cut some of your outdoor flowers for indoor display. It is best to cut the flowers during a cool part of the day and to put them in water as quickly as possible.
Remove any foliage that will be under the water in the vase. Keep your arrangements in a cool room out of direct sunlight. Adding a preservative to the water can lengthen the life of the flowers.
• Recent rains have taken some pressure off watering. Any plants installed this year will still need attention to watering as the weather warms up and dries out in the coming weeks. You should not automatically water them, but monitor soil moisture and water as needed.
• Bearded iris can be divided and replanted after they have finished blooming. Be sure to discard any shriveled or diseased parts. Be careful not to plant the new sections too deeply.
• Weeds growing between cracks in brickwork or sidewalks are unsightly but easy to eliminate. Treat them with a nonselective herbicide when they are small to avoid having to pull them out by hand. Avoid spraying on windy days so adjacent desirable plants are not damaged.
• If your hybrid roses have been losing their lower leaves and the remaining leaves have yellowish foliage with dark spots, then it is likely you have blackspot, which is a common fungal disease. Begin a spray program with approved fungicides immediately.
The fungicides need to be applied once every seven to 10 days, as they work to prevent the disease and do not cure what is already infected. Be sure to clean up any leaves that have fallen from the plants.
Many landscape shrub roses are resistant to blackspot so do not need to be on a spray program. Do not spray Rosa rugosa, as the fungicides used to control blackspot can burn the foliage.
• Bulb foliage that has turned brown can be removed now.
• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden, chicagobotanic.org.