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It wasn’t raining this morning, and I didn’t have to drive my children to an early morning swim practice, so I braved the oppressive humidity and worked in the gardens for a couple of hours.

While trimming the many dead blooms off of the pink Knockout rose, I found the first bloom on Cosmos ‘Pink Popsock.’  ‘Pink Popsock’ should grow to only twenty-four inches, and is supposed to bear both single and double blooms. This single blossom is an inch and a half across, and reminds me of a Dianthus flower:Cosmos 'Pink Popsock' 1st flowerI gave the Knockout, and all the other roses in my gardens, a nice serving of granular rose fertilizer, and then treated each one against insects, mites, and fungus with a certified organic spray whose key ingredient is neem oil.   Both the fertilizer and spray were long overdue–many of the roses’ leaves are ridden with holes, and I see a bit of black spot on one or two.

Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Sedona’ has its first bud of the year!Hybrid Tea Rose 'Sedona' bud


I also trimmed back the Salvia, which I think is ‘May Night.’ Salvia, ready to dead headMany of the stems have new bracts of flower buds forming, so I trimmed them down to that spot.  These second blooms will not be as tall or strong as the first flush, but the color will still be nice.012013

Geum  ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ needed a haircut as well.  I cut most of her stems back to the first leaf, unless I saw a side shoot and bud higher up the stem.  Last summer ‘Mrs. Bradshaw’ continued to bloom well into the season; I hope she does so again this year!Geum 'Mrs. Bradshaw', ready to trim backThis friendly green dragonfly kept me company as I worked: dragonfly in garden

We’ve had deluges of rain for the past week.  The zonal geraniums and Vinca flowers are  pouting through their yellow leaves:unhappy wet-footed geraniumsad, wet Vincaover-watered vinca

The ferns, however, are thriving!

ferns overtaking coreopsisThey nearly obliterated the poor Coreopsis in front of them until I did quite a bit of pulling!Coreopsis after fern purge

Up on the back deck, I thinned the Armenian cucumbers so the window box needs to support only three plants:Armenian Cucumbers, before thinningArmenian cucumbers after thinning

I also spent some time pulling many, many weeds out of the begonia bed under the rhododendron bush.  I neglected to take a before and after pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it looks about 468% better now!

Back to the front garden,my Asiatic lilies blooming for the third consecutive year!  I daresay the deer have forgotten they are here!  (Fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc. . .!)  I’m very happy I remembered to install plant supports around their stems before all the heavy storms hit us!  Aren’t they pretty?Oriental LiliesBy this time, I was beyond ready to come inside to drink a nice fruit juice spritzer, sit in front of the air conditioner, and watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest with my kids!  The list of chores is shorter now, but there is still a good deal of work to be done– vegetables to thin, mulch to lay down, and, always, always, always, weeds to pull!