Summer is finally on the way, so clear that vegetation

The slow but steady drippings from the rain coupled with the constant booms of the neighborhood fireworks collections announced another Fourth of July weekend in the Northwest. The slugs and snails were ecstatic. The cats and dogs were severely annoyed. The rest of us were kept quite busy making hourly contingency plans.

Having put this uniquely American holiday behind us, we now know that the warm, long days of summer will steadily unfold, causing great sleep deprivation - for who wants to miss the beautiful, lingering light of the summer evenings? Being so light-deprived for so many months, our bodies just seem to gravitate toward soaking up as much of the summer light as possible.

May I suggest that you also do what I call a walkabout. Walk the outer public perimeters of your garden, the places where you don't normally to and fro in your daily activities. I suspect that you will find massive amounts of vegetative growth that may be blocking the sidewalks or side alleys.

Walking to dinner the other night, I had to duck under wet, hanging birch branches, step aside from a huge, lunging blackberry cane and go single-file past the exuberant growth of Spanish lavender.

Doing my own walkabout, I filled two 30-gallon containers for the yard waste program, and have a call into my arborist to come out for further tree work!

In the garden itself I thought I would just tidy up some of the late spring growth. Well, another two cans later, I was halfway through the process. The fullness of the vegetation is staggering. It seems so disruptive to untangle the mess, but from experience I know that all of the plants will respond to these early-summer haircuts.

If I wait, the lavenders will become excessively woody and unattractive, the daphne shrubs in the late fall will present a difficult shape to prune, and some of my small garden treasures will die, having been buried by their neighbors' excessive growth.

The last of the cool summer weather is the perfect temperature to work so vigorously. Soon it will be in the 80s and 90s, and we will want to sit quietly while complaining about the heat.

Also, we will be off hiking, sailing, swimming, and there will be no time for the garden - except to harvest our crops and wonder if the tomatoes will ripen this year.[[In-content Ad]]