Record temperatures in June means that summer arrived early, and July is not likely to have a cool-down. Be smart and enjoy your garden and the accompanying chores in the cool of the day - either early morning or in the evening. Deadhead annuals and perennials to keep them looking their best and to encourage repeat flowering. Keep after the weeds, not letting them get ahead of you. And be on the lookout for pest problems, so they can be controlled before they too much damage.
Make a Patriotic Display
The colors may be a given, but have fun in making a patriotic flower display. Get some inexpensive red or blue pots, then fill the red ones with blue and white annuals, and the blue ones with red- and white-flowered ones. Make a grouping on the front steps, patio, or deck. Add some small flags or other red-white-and-blue decorations.
Blueberries, raspberries (red, purple, and yellow), gooseberries, red and black currants, and blackberries are all ripening now. Whether you grow your own or find them at a farmer's market, they are at their peak, just waiting to be enjoyed "as is" for snacking or prepared in luscious desserts. Make some into jams, jellies, and other treats. No time now? Simply put them into freezer bags or boxes and decide what to do with them this winter.
Be An Explorer
Only the most ambitious of us are able to grow the full range of fruits and vegetables that can be produced in any given region. The burgeoning numbers of farmer's markets offer a rich source of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Hopefully, you have one nearby that you visit regularly to round out your own garden produce. Just for the fun of it, though, at least once a month go to a different market to see what else is available. Wherever you go, give yourself plenty of time to talk with the vendors and enjoy the party atmosphere that many markets have.
It's been a great year for hydrangeas, with all the different types blooming prodigiously. Besides using hydrangeas fresh in bouquets, they're also one of the mainstays of dried-flower arrangements. The simplest way to dry hydrangeas is to allow them to dry on the plant before picking them. With this method, color will range from light tan to shades of green, pink, or blue, but floral spray paint will turn them any color desired. Use silica gel to dry hydrangeas with the most spectacular natural colors.