It’s the right time to plant basil; fertilize perennials; and care for fading spring bulbs –


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TIME FOR BASIL: Put in basil plants now and enjoy a wonderful fresh seasoning for summer cooking. Many herbs already in your garden, such as thyme, sage, oregano, mint, dill, cilantro and parsley, are at their most productive over the next two months and will play out as the weather gets hotter. Harvest freely and dry or freeze the extras.BULB CARE: Remove faded flowers and developing seed pods from spring-flowering bulbs that are to be kept for bloom next year. Do not remove any of the green foliage. Wait until the foliage turns mostly yellow before cutting them back. Bulbs that reliably rebloom here do not need to be dug and can be left in the ground. They include leucojum, many narcissuses and daffodils, Dutch iris, amaryllis, ground orchid (Bletilla), Easter lily, wood hyacinth, freesia, star flower (Ipheion), hyacinths (will rebloom but the spikes are much smaller), Louisiana irises, spider lilies (Hymenocallis) and calla lily (only Zantedeschia aethiopica). Many other bulbs, such as tulips, crocus, anemones, scilla and muscari, will rarely repeat bloom or will produce inferior flowers next year, and may be pulled up and discarded when they finish blooming.FERTILIZE NOW: Established perennials should be fertilized this month if you have not already done so. Use a granular general purpose fertilizer or organic fertilizer scattered evenly through the bed following package directions. After the fertilizer is applied, water the bed by hand to wash any fertilizer granules off the foliage and down to the soil.CHAOS IN THE VINES: Keep ornamental vines under control with regular pruning and training or they will quickly get out of hand. If a vine is grown for its flowers, heaviest pruning should be done after its main blooming period.

Our lawns should be greening up nicely by now. That makes it a good time to look for dead spots and areas where the grass has died out.

I am concerned about my Lady Banks rose. The bark is peeling on several spots, mostly on the older, lower stems. Can you offer any possible ca…

CALADIUM TIME: Plant caladium tubers or started plants in the garden this month through June. Caladiums are excellent for shady areas and comb…

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Dan Gill is a retired consumer horticulture specialist with the LSU AgCenter. He hosts the “Garden Show” on WWL-AM Saturdays at 9 a.m. Email gardening questions to [email protected]
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