“There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” — Walter Cronkite. 

“Man is not free unless government is limited.” — Ronald Reagan. 

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” — Ronald Reagan. 

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Summer is here, the temps are rising, and Independence Day is on the horizon. July is on its way! Now is a good time for taking soil samples and having them analyzed for improved soil and plant health for fall, developing plans for your fall landscape needs, and for rooting plant materials from cuttings. Pinch mums (chrysanthemums) for a final time later in July to encourage improved budding and flowering. Feed mums every two weeks with liquid fertilizer until flower buds appear. Also, dried blood repels rabbits, white geraniums repel Japanese beetles, and dragonflies feed on mosquitoes.

Cannas: Continue to remove faded and expired flowers to prolong the bloom season into the fall. Cannas are moderately drought resistant, but plants will be more robust with higher quality blooms if watered every three to five dry days. In August, make a final application of fertilizer, such as 5-10-10 or similar analysis, at a rate of one-half cup per square yard of planted area.

Crape myrtles: Continue to remove excessive vegetation as needed for better shape, form and health (do not commit crape murder). Also remove exhausted and spent flowers to encourage a fall presentation of flower color. Continue to inspect these plants for any insect or disease activity. If the leaves are sticky and blackened, then aphids or scale insects are a distinct possibility. These insect pests release a honeydew (sticky substance) and the sooty mold fungus (blackened appearance) feeds on it. Control your insect problem and you will most likely cure the mold situation.

Dogwoods: Continue to remove excessive vegetation (suckers and unnecessary growth) along main and lower branches as needed for better shape, form and health. Continue to inspect these plants for any insect or disease activity and address accordingly. Be on look-out for anthracnose fungal activity.

Flowering kale: Sow seeds of flowering kale in late July to early August. Prized for its colorful ornamental leaves (pink/red, purple or white centers surrounded by green), flowering kale is also edible. Plant in full sun in healthy, well-drained soils. Also, flowering kale may be grown in containers for use on the deck or patio. To keep flowering kale healthy and showy, water frequently during dry weather. Ornamental cabbages have leaves with wavy edges, while the leaves of ornamental kale have ruffled or crinkled edges.

Landscape planning: Now is a great time to utilize for planning your woody ornamentals and sketching your site plans. The initial step is an analysis of the site to determine needs and identify problematic situations such as poor drainage and compaction. Review and study your plant choices and their cultural requirements. Develop and sketch your ideas to scale onto paper. Your initial thoughts, ideas and approach should be very general. However, as the process develops and you begin to address your wants and the site’s needs, the final sketch or drawing should be very specific and ready for a fall installation.

Pine straw and cones: Late June and July mark the beginning of any noticeable falling of pine needles from surrounding pine trees. This dropping will continue deep into the fall season. Rake these needles and use the straw to refresh your landscape beds. Pick up any fallen pine cones before mowing. The heavy green pine cones can be destructive to your mower unit, as well as becoming a safety hazard to people and property when thrown by the mower blades.

Pruning: Most major pruning is done in the spring, but now is a good time to perform minor pruning to shape plants. Most spring flowering plants are setting buds now, so prune only to cut back long shoots, and remove dead or diseased wood (otherwise, you may be removing flower buds). In addition, remove dead blooms from all plants and divide daylilies and Japanese irises.

Repellent: A homemade mosquito (ants and fleas) repellent includes ½ liter of alcohol, 100 grams of whole cloves, and 100 milliliters of baby oil or similar (almond, chamomile, lavender, fennel, etc.). Leave cloves to marinate in alcohol for four days, stirring every morning and evening. Then, add the oil and mix thoroughly. Gently rub a few drops into the skin of the arms, legs, and neck.

Heat: Exercise care while working outside in the heat of the day. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, wear proper clothing including sun hat and polarized sunglasses, and use sunblock for protection on exposed skin. Pace yourself and try to do your landscape chores in the early morning or early evening hours.

Keep your hanging baskets and potted plants refreshed with water and food. Remember to feed and water the songbirds, and give your pets the care they need. Also, be on lookout for children playing and bicyclists riding along the streets and roadways throughout our communities. And remember to safely share the road with motorcycles. Drive alert and arrive alive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired, and don’t text while driving. Click it or ticket! Help the homeless every chance you get. Share your blessings with those less fortunate. Continue your social distancing and proper hygiene practices during these unusual times. Let’s keep everyone safe and secure while enjoying the great outdoors. And, remember to pray for one another, our nation, and those around the world who are hurting and suffering. God bless each of you! 

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:20. 

“... I will celebrate before the Lord.” — 2 Samuel 6:21.

Seagle is a Sustainability Verifier, Golf Environment Organization (Scotland), Agronomist and Horticulturalist, CSI: Seagle (Consulting Services International) LLC, Professor Emeritus and Honorary Alumnus (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Distinguished Professor for Teaching and Learning (University System of Georgia) and Short Term Missionary (Heritage Church, Moultrie). Direct inquiries to csi_seagle @yahoo.com.

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