By Barbara Kozlowski

Is it summer yet? I’m not too sure we even had spring, with the exception of a few days. It certainly has been a trying time with excessive rainfall, no rain, warm and hot days, cool and cold nights. Welcome to Western New York!

Many of our flowering shrubs may need staking when their blooms become soaked by heavy rainfall. One of these is the willowy wands of the butterfly bush.

As gardeners, we work very hard to adjust to some of these bizarre conditions. Hopefully, we can now plant our gardens with the confidence that they will grow and we will be able to harvest our cutting gardens and vegetables before our growing season comes to a close. The rains have certainly watered our lawns and gardens — maybe a little too well — and consequently everything seems to be growing out of control. I can barely keep up with mowing much less the weeding.

Speaking of weeding, weeding gardens is best done when the soil is fairly damp, not dry. Weeds can be easily removed with a gentle loosening of the soil around them. Be sure to get the entire root or you will see the weed possibly regrow later in the season.

We do have an additional problem this season — the Gypsy Moth caterpillar. This is a destructive insect and has been known to devastate foliage on trees, bushes and in gardens. For information on control, contact the Master Gardener Hotline at (716) 699-2377, ext. 127, Mondays and Wednesdays 9 a.m.–noon. If no one is available, please leave a message with your name, telephone number and a brief description of your problem. A Master Gardener will return your call.

Remember to deadhead (pinch off dead blooms) petunias, geraniums, marigolds and other annuals to keep them blooming throughout the summer and into the fall. Some newer varieties of annuals self-deadhead. Check with your nursery for a description of which annuals fall into this category. Shrubs like rhododendrons and azaleas should be deadheaded as they finish blooming and can be pruned at this time. Enjoy your gardens no matter what size, in-ground or in containers.

Wednesdays in the Arboretum

Starting July 10, the Master Gardeners of Cattaraugus County will present Wednesdays in the Arboretum starting at 7 p.m. A schedule of sessions will appear in this paper and will be posted in various locations in and around Ellicottville. The sessions are free and are presented rain or shine at the Nannen Arboretum at 28 Parkside Drive in the Village of Ellicottville. Everyone is welcome!

This is also the perfect time to walk through the Nannen Arboretum and enjoy the beautiful gardens. There is self-guided tour literature available to enhance your arboretum experience.