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Keeping Gardens Healthy In Summer

Bobby Hamilton Jr. in a 2008 file photo.
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Plenty of people spend lots of time in the spring getting their gardens in shape. Once the hot summer rolls around, they like to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

But The Early Show's resident green thumb, Charlie Dimmock, says you still need to do some maintenance over the summer to make sure your garden looks its best.

Among her tips:

Pruning: Some shrubs flower during the early spring and summer. You'll probably need to prune them. If they're taking up too much space, and looking old and tired, then it's worth pruning them.

Dimmock recommends using a one-and-three method: Take out one of three stems. It should be the oldest, which has a fatter stem and woodier look. The shrubs you might want use this time of year are Kerria, Spirea, Escallonia, Olearia, Weigela, Philadelphus, and Lilac. This method is great, because you can also use it for other shrubs at different times of year.

Too Much Foliage: Delphinium is the plant that everyone wants to grow. During the summer, it flowers, but that comes to an end. If you take off the flower head as soon as it finishes flowering, you get a second flush of flowers. You'll find there's a big gap of foliage between the delphiniums, so it's a great idea to plant something with color that flowers later in season. Plant it between the gaps. Black eyed-susans and Japanese anemone are great flowers to plant between foliage.

House Plants: Don't put houseplants outside in the intense sun. They need to be in an area where there's no direct light. To get them adjusted to the outside, it's a great idea to sit them there for two or three hours on a day when there's good weather. The next day, put them outside for a few more hours until they're adjusted to the outside. Once they're adjusted, you can leave plants outside until the end of August.

Fruit Trees/Plants: Don't panic, because this time of year you'll find lots of small fruit on ground, mainly from apple and pear trees. Trees drop fruit in June and July. It's normal. The trees get rid of smaller fruit, so they're not overburdened.

Tomato Plants: At this time of year, they're in active growth, so feed them regularly. Tie the tops into the cane and take out the side shoots. If you have tomatoes that aren't ripening and in a greenhouse, you can just hang a couple of banana skins under the plant. The banana skins will help the tomato ripen. You can also put the tomatoes in the bottom of the fridge.

Popular Outdoor Plants in Planters: Camellias, Azaleas, and Rhododendrons are popular plants. You must make sure they don't dry out during the summer, so water them, or the buds won't fatten up and you won't get any flowers next year.