Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Readying for Vacation

preparing gardens while away on vacation, Mary Stone of Garden Dilemmas

Hello fellow readers,

I am flattered how many of you introduced yourselves at last week 4th of July festivities. It goes to show the energy of our local paper and the sense of community it promotes.  I am grateful to The Press and to all of you for engaging in our chat.

Well the heat is on which often goes hand in hand with dryness causing plant stress. How can we leave stressed plants to de-stress ourselves by going on vacation? Jim from Harmony Township asks what to do so his garden and pots don’t shrivel up while he is away. The temptation is to juice up your plants before you leave but don’t fertilize as it will stimulate new growth that needs more water.

Gather containers and move them to the shade as their grouping will help hold moisture and humidity. Soak every pot and bed long and slow before you leave but don’t leave plants sitting in water as root rot is not reversible while drought stress usually is. You can set pots on stones or bricks above the level of water in a tray or saucer to maintain humidity.

If you are going to be away for more than a week, best to have someone come and water your pots and garden if Mother Nature doesn’t. And don’t forget about your indoor plants which are better moved 4 feet or so from a sunny window.

If it’s really dry before you leave, give the lawn one long soak and avoid the temptation to mow extra short before you leave as it will cause further stress. Not to worry if your grass turns a little brown. Going dormant for a few weeks in summer is natural and makes your lawn less welcoming to grubs.

Most of all prepare for a deer free-for-all as they will be quick studies that you are away. I use a systemic organic spray called Deer Out and dose even deer resistant plants. Enjoy your respite Jim; your garden chores will be waiting for your return.

Garden dilemmas?


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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