blue flower 



The heat of summer has arrived:

- "dead head" (or cut off) spent flowers, such as peonies that are all partied-out from their wild show late-June. Cleaning up fallen petals not only looks better, it prevents moisture and disease from propagating at the base of your plants.

If you are a fan of peonies, you'll enjoy these photos from the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden peony festival. This year, the festival was held virtually on their website. I was lucky to see the peonies in full bloom before the festival launched. View my photo blog here (

- Removing spent lilac blooms will help them bloom more prolifically next year.

- Prune evergreens, especially cedars and cedar hedges. Now is the time. Boxwood, yews and other evergreens also.

- Watering: if it is hot and dry in your region, be mindful of watering your garden. Here are our rules of thumb:

     1. If it is beginning to weep/droop water it deeply.

     2. If the soil is dry down to the second knuckle of your index finger, water it deeply.

     3. If your lawn is turning brown and dry, leave it. Most often it will merely go dormant, though after an extended period of drought, ie. Several weeks, it may die.  All is not lost. Come mid-August the BEST time of the year to overseed a new lawn or thicken an established one comes along. Be patient.

Don't judge your garden during a drought by the postcards of Butchart Gardens. Mother Nature will nurture but sometimes the immediate results do not look great.

- Keep bird baths and water ponds clean and topped up.

- Cut your lawn high, at least 8 cm, to build up drought resistance. The taller you cut the lawn, the tougher it is to survive and thrive.

- Clean your hummingbird feeders and hang them out. A clean feeder is essential for the health of these remarkable birds.



Cooling Mist Stand

The cooling mist stand may be the perfect way to relax on a hot, humid day. After all, it reduces the temperature in the immediate area by up to 10 degrees c.

The idea for this mist stand came from a roofing contractor Mark met in a Home Hardware store in Airdrie, Alberta. He was looking for something that would improve the productivity of his workers on a hot day.

We put our thinking caps on, and voila!

The result is a great way to stay cool and enjoy a long, hot summer day, at work or at play! The nozzles are multi-directional and can be adjusted. It is low cost to run and not harmful to the environment.

Cool, indeed!

Home Hardware item# 5072-995 (link)

Watch the video 

About Mark and Ben:

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author & broadcaster and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of Guelph and Dalhousie University. You can sign up for their free monthly newsletter and find his weekly podcast & blog at

An Organic Approach (5010-205), is available at Home Hardware.


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