Summer Garden Chores - The New York Times

But in other ways, the public’s absence got back at the gardeners by creating additional tasks: “We never have to weed our paths, because...


But in other ways, the public’s absence got back at the gardeners by creating additional tasks: “We never have to weed our paths, because usually visitors walk on them,” Mr. Tilghman said. “But this year, no feet.”

Perhaps he can cross that job off his list now, as Untermyer reopened on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning July 10, with timed tickets. Guests are back, and as August beckons, Mr. Tilghman shared his high-summer to-do list.

“If you can’t enjoy weeding, you won’t be a happy gardener,” said Mr. Tilghman, citing its importance to a garden’s health and visuals. “Everyone enjoys the neatness of a fresh planting, but unless you’re willing and eager to get in there and weed …”

Deep, diligent watering, like weeding, is also crucial. (Although after each session at Untermyer, the gear must once again be stowed.)

And while you’re tending to both: Observe and make note of what needs fixing.

“We look for scale, vigor, composition — and aesthetic worthiness,” Mr. Tilghman said. “Does a plant look good in the border, and is it worth growing?”

Sometimes what was irresistible in a catalog isn’t as appealing in your garden. “Once established, maybe it doesn’t add a strong visual element, or it’s too compact — or colonizes when you didn’t expect it to,” he said.

At Untermyer, those insights become essential fodder for action plans in the fall and the following spring.

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