Birdbaths are great to add to the garden, both for their decorative aspects and the water they provide for birds. However, when they become dirty and filled with algae, they do no one any good. The safest way to clean them is to mix equal parts vinegar and water. If the birdbath is particularly dirty, let the mixture stand in it for an hour or so. Rinse with clean water. Check birdbaths at least once a week to see if they need cleaning, but check the water in them daily.
Flowers fresh from your garden are one of the great rewards of gardening. Plus, while picking the flowers you get to enjoy the garden itself and check up on how plants are doing. It's best to pick flowers early in the morning. Take a bucket of water with you to the garden. Use a sharp scissors or pruning shears and immediately put cut stems into the water. Once indoors, create both large and small bouquets to place around the house. Check water daily and add as necessary.
Ever notice how hot that stone patio gets in summer? Hint: Try walking on it barefoot in the middle of the day. Think about what that heat does to the plant roots in a container sitting on that patio. Stone, gravel, asphalt, and concrete are the worst culprits, but even on a wood deck, your container plantings will grow better if you raise them above the surface with "pot feet" or a pot tray on casters.
Check Out Garden Center Sales
Garden centers aren't as crowded now as they were just a few weeks ago. Although the selection won't be as good now, it's always possible to discover that "find." Many places will now also have sales. The key to success with planting by this time of summer is to choose cloudy or cooler days, preferably just before a rain and to watch the plants closely, providing shade, if necessary, and watering regularly.
Photograph your flowerbeds, containers, and other plantings at least every few weeks throughout the growing season. Doing this not only helps you appreciate what "worked" in your garden, but it will also help you see what didn't. When it's the right time to move plants around later this summer and fall, you'll have a ready reference for size and color. This winter, the photos will help in your decision making as you plan next year's garden.