Last month I wrote about how spring was finally arriving here in the Pacific Northwest. Now, with June drawing to a close, summer is here, and with it, the joy of watching the plants in your garden thrive in the long days and warmer temperatures. If your garden needs some extra color or you want to ensure your yard and garden perform their best this summer, here are a few tips.

First, early summer is a great time to plant perennials in your garden. Most spring-blooming shrubs have finished with their blooms by this point of the year, and summer-blooming shrubs like hydrangeas aren’t quite ready yet. Several perennials, however, can fill the void with a pop of color.

One of my favorite perennials for low-maintenance color all summer is delosperma, known commonly as hardy ice plant. This sun-loving groundcover spreads up to two feet wide and can tolerate very dry, rocky soils. With colorful daisy-like blooms starting in June, hardy ice plant will continue to flower throughout the summer, even when you forget to water. Frankly, it’s about as goof-proof as perennials come, and a great addition to any garden regardless of your knowledge or experience.

Another perennial that will give you color in early summer is lupine, an old-fashioned classic recently given a fresh update. The new Westcountry lupines, introduced from Great Britain, have vivid colors, several of which are unique two-toned blossoms. Two of my favorites are ‘Gladiator,’ which boasts vivid yellow-and-orange blooms, and ‘Manhattan Lights,’ which shines with rich purple and yellow tones.

Second, now is the perfect time to prune many of your spring-blooming shrubs. Rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs and several others bloom on old wood, meaning the flowers you enjoyed this year developed last summer on that season’s growth. For this reason, if you need to prune, do so as soon as the flowers fade so that the plant can recover and put out some new growth (and next year’s flower buds) with plenty of time left in the growing season.

Third, this month is an important time to feed your lawn for summer. Back in March and April, you might have treated for moss in your yard and fertilized it for spring. If it has been at least six weeks since you last fed the lawn, though, now is time to fertilize it again. Use Scotts Turf Builder for a better blend of nutrients and higher quality ingredients than generic fertilizers. Feed now and you won’t have to fertilize again until August.

Finally, now is the time to make sure your lawn and garden are prepared for hot, dry summer weather. Up to this point of the season, keeping up with the water needs of your lawn and garden has been fairly easy. Summer’s long stretches of warm dry weather will soon arrive, though, and now is the perfect time to apply a water maximizer like EveryDrop to your lawn and garden.

If you’ve ever tried to water a dry lawn or garden, only to watch the water bead up and run off the dry soil, you’ve seen the effects of surface tension on dry ground. A soil wetting agent like EveryDrop will break up the surface tension, allowing water to penetrate and soak more deeply into dry soil, reducing the amount of water you need to use. Pick up a bag or two at Vander Giessen’s and apply it to lawns, flowerbeds or even vegetable gardens to help soil absorb water and keep your plants happy.

With summer officially here, enjoy watching your lawn grow and garden begin to fill in with color and fresh produce!