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STAYING IN > GARDENING.

Here are five things to do in your garden this weekend.

1 Remove: Keep geraniums and other flowering plants blooming throughout the summer and longer by removing faded blossoms. This is called deadheading. Most summer annuals, perennials and roses will bloom more if old blossoms are removed. Plant food will also boost blooming.

2 Harvest: Stone fruits, grapes and other summer fruits ripen fast in the heat. Check them every other day or so and harvest as they mature. Since they spoil quickly in hot weather, plan to do some canning, or drying, or freezing, or juicing. It may be unpleasant work now, but the effort sure pays off when you open and enjoy it next winter.

3 Trim: As fast-growing shrubbery next to walkways and houses outstretches its proper bounds and gets in the way, trim it back to shape. However, don't just hedge-sheer or whack indiscriminately. Cut back only the offending branches -- to a leaf or side-stem, a little shorter than you really want it to be, so there is room for new sprouts to grow several inches. This way the plants will retain an attractive natural and untrimmed appearance and be polite at the same time.

4 Plant: There's still time to put in shade-loving annuals (in shady spots, of course) that you can enjoy clear into winter. Choose from Calceolaria (Purse Flower)*, Impatiens* or Mimulus (Monkey Flower) for the most colorful displays. Especially attractive, permanent shade-loving plants include Aspidistra*, Breynia (Calico Plant)*, Camellia*, Clivia, Cycads, Ferns, Fuchsia, Nandina and Parthenocissus (Boston Ivy). Those with asterisks (*) also double as beautiful houseplants in bright rooms.

5 Dig: If you planted onions, garlic, potatoes or peanuts last winter-- probably in January or February, they are ready to harvest when the tops of the plants turn yellow and start wilting -- generally in July or August. Carefully dig around the plants and unearth their hidden treasures. Let them cure in open air, but out of direct sunlight, for at least a few hours or overnight, to set them up for storage. Or, of course, you could begin using them right away.
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 26, 2008
Words:350
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