July - What's in Lisa's Garden?


Lisa Colburn


In My Garden (Zone 3-4)

Lisa Colburn
Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook and author of The Maine Garden Journal.



Every garden-maker should be an artist along his own lines. That is the only possible way to create a garden, irrespective of size or wealth.

-Vita Sackville-West

I try to check off a task on my garden to-do list every day - whether it's weeding an area, edging a bed, deadheading or pruning. Inevitably as I make my way around the yard, I'm distracted. Weeds appear where the day before there were none! All of a sudden a well-behaved plant needs to be cut back! By day's end I may complete the task I originally set out to do. But yet, by the end of the day, I feel fulfilled, satisfied. Being in my garden is food for the soul. By late June and early July my garden begins to flourish. How I delight in watching things unfold. It seems that every day there's something new to see. My peonies have been blooming for a few weeks now.


Most gardeners select a peony based on flower color but the disease and pest-free foliage is a bonus - great in floral arrangements. Peonies are very long-lived. My 87 year old neighbor has a peony in her garden that was handed down from her mother-in-law. All of her daughters have divisions of the original peony in their gardens. I'm sure that as her grandchildren start their own homes, they will also have divisions of the same variety in their gardens. I have a friend who bought an old farm and discovered peonies that had been mowed down with the lawn for a few years. They stopped mowing them and those peonies bloomed within a year. That's one tough plant! It's a must-have, hardy perennial for zone 3 and 4 gardens.


While many perennials are grown for their flowers, hostas are grown primarily for their leaves. Every possible shade of gold, green and white exists in some arrangement in the leaves. And the texture possibilities are huge. Smooth, corrugated, shiny, matte, large and hefty to delicate and diminutive, are just some of the words used to describe hosta leaves. The interesting pattern on these hosta leaves gets attention.

hosta leaves

Cottages draped in ivy; arbors and gazebos with curtains of vines; green walls of foliage hung over fences and walls - all create images of cool, secluded, shady havens. Climbing plants add an extra dimension of enclosure and comfort to the garden. Clematis is a highly regarded climber that can live up to 50 years. When a clematis is in full bloom, it's the star of the garden. I have an arbor in my garden where I've trained two kinds of clematis. One starts to bloom about a week before the other. It's a combination that gets attention



Every gardener is an artist. With the help of Mother Nature you can't go wrong.




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Veteran gardeners often claim a drop of mineral oil placed on the end of a developing ear of corn will discourage earworms. But Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) sprinkled on the emerging corn silk is more effective. The best way to avoid earworms altogether is by planting a short-season variety like ‘Early and Often’ or ‘Early Choice’ as early as possible. Earworms usually cause the most damage in late summer. So, if you can harvest early, the corn will be on the dinner table long before the earworms have a chance to damage the crop.