July face lift for a garden

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Approaching 100F and yet they're smiling. Gotta love a Detroit zoo Adopt-a-Garden volunteer! Here's how Janet, Shelley Welch, Judy Storrs, Paul Needle, Deb Tosch, Karen Thompson, Mary Wente-Lindsay, Dawn Miller, Sandy Niks, Debi Slentz, Marilyn Alimpich and Priscilla Needle spent just two hours to tweak a 5,000 square foot garden so it looked its best despite record breaking heat and drought. 

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When summer's start brings nostalgia for spring

It's been hot and dry in our region. Plants are worn, scant of bloom, tattered on the edges, pest-pocked, pale, scorched or otherwise off color. At this time in other summers, it's only pleasantly warm and rain's come regularly so the garden's lush, even a bit overgrown or tangled in places with weeds that are also growing well.

Funny thing: In either year, no matter what the meteorological situation, when July comes and the freshness of spring has gone, we begin to miss it and we pout.

Here are the counter-measures we took one July morning at our gardens at the Detroit Zoo. 12 people, 5,000 square feet to water and tweak -- 400 square feet per person. They left things looking much fresher and more colorful. You can do the same to bring back some of the best parts of spring without losing out on summer's glory.

Four tactics:

1) Identify the keepers. Tough weather highlights summer's best performers HillGoodFrntN6630s.jpg

2) Employ all the face lifting tricks a summer garden needs:
     Erasing worn patches,
     covering wrinkles,
     smoothing and
     highlighting clean space.DedhdBetonyN6654s.jpg

3) Face reality: No such thing as a problem free garden, so forget about it!

4) Space is available? Sure you can add new, but think small