Looking for ways to care for plants while on vacation? Keep plants alive with these simple tips plus a weekly garden tour.

There are times when I wish I had an irrigation system because it is tough caring for the gardens while on vacation.

Am I right?

And heading out for a vacation in the heat of summer is one of those times because setting them on a timer would insure my plants get watered while I’m away.

Since I do not have an irrigation system or sprinklers on a timer, I rely on friends and family to water for me while I’m gone if the weather doesn’t take care of the gardens itself.

Most gardens around the property are self-sufficient and don’t need much to thrive while I’m away.

However, the annuals, vegetable, and container gardens need to be watered daily in order to survive the summer heat and humidity.

But there are things we can do to prepare before traveling.

Here’s what you need to know!

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Vegetable Garden Care for the Vacationer

My vegetable garden is not close to a water source and I can’t leave a hose out on the lawn to get to the bed or the landscapers will mow it down.

We need to dig a hose underground in order to reach this particular bed.

Until we do that, I have to manually water the vegetable garden.

Vegetable garden in summer

Before leaving for vacation, I explain to my caretakers how to water the plants and harvest vegetables that are ready.

Since my caretakers have various levels of experience with gardening, these are my instructions:

  • Focus on watering the roots instead of the plant foliage to help prevent pests and disease.
  • Describe how long to water each container because “watering” is subjective. I typically ask caretakers to water 10 seconds per area.
  • Request plants be watered as early as possible in the day so they can dry out before night time. Watering later in the day or evening hours promotes pests and disease because it gets dark and the temps cool down.
  • Offer them to harvest any fruits or vegetables that are ripe so they don’t rot or get eaten by pests while away. My caretakers almost never take me up on this but I wish they would!
black Labrador Retriever on deck overlooking his domain

Quick Tips to Prepare Container Gardens Before Vacation

  • Pull all of the sun-loving containers out of the sun so they do not dry out as quickly while away.
  • Group containers together into one area so it is easier for the caretaker to water.
  • Since “watering” is subjective, I ask caretakers to water 10 seconds per pot.
  • I water all of my containers the day I am leaving to insure they get watered well.
15 Mistakes New Gardeners Should Avoid

Returning from Vacation

When I get back from vacation, I walk the beds to see how everything held up while I was away.

Doing so is important because it tips me off on any issues that arose while I was away and shows the changes that occurred while I was gone.

Since we were away the last few days and I just got home late last night, let’s see what’s been happening in the gardens this week!

Shade Garden in the back border

This Week’s Garden Tour (July 2019)

During the gardening season of 2019, I photographed the gardens each week to document how they grew and changed.

It’s amazing to look back and see how things grew and change throughout the seasons.

Here’s what my gardens look like this week in July 2019.

Summer Perennial Garden

Front Yard Cottage Garden Tour

The front garden is looking incredible!

The Echinacea and Bee Balm are in full bloom while the yellow Daylillies and Hostas just started flowering.

Sedum Autumn Joy is starting to produce it’s flowers and I love the chartreuse green they add to the borders.

Summer Perennial Garden
Summer Perennial Garden

The Yellow Daylillies just started blooming.

I love the bright color they add to the summer border.

Balloon Flower
Balloon Flower
Variegated Hosta
Summer Perennial Garden

This is that portion of the front garden that I replaced two weeks ago.

Still going strong!

I asked my caretaker to water it while I was away if it did not rain.

Yellow Daylillies
Summer Perennial Garden
The Echinacea and Moonbeam Coreopsis are still going strong in the front border.
blooming gardens in July
Summer Perennial Garden

The Well Garden Tour

The Well Garden looks really good right now too!

The orange Daylillies are still flowering, but starting to slow down.

Tall Phlox started blooming and I love the way it enhances Smoketree’s foliage.

Summer Perennial and Flowering Shrub Garden
Callicarpa - Beautyberry

One of my favorite flowering shrubs, Callicarpa, also known as Beautyberry.

It doesn’t look like much now, but those tiny flowers will eventually become bright purple berries in late fall/early winter after the foliage turns a brilliant autumnal color.

blooming garden in July
Smoketree, Tall Pholox, Peonies and Coreopsis.
blooming flower garden in July

The Mailbox Garden

The Mailbox Garden is in full bloom right now.

The red Daylillies that flank both sides of the mailbox started blooming while I was away.

The Clematis, Marigolds, Petunias and Euphorbia are all still blooming beautifully.

I love how colorful this garden is!

blooming mailbox flower garden in July
close up of blooming flower mailbox garden in July
close up of mailbox garden blooming in July
Sedum - Autumn Joy

This is the Sedum Autumn Joy I dug up and divided a few months ago.

It is just across the driveway from the mailbox garden.

I love the simplicity of the garden with only Sedums.

The Sideyard Gardens Tour

I don’t normally show the side gardens.

They are typically the last gardens to get weeded.

Since these gardens were just weeded last week, here they are!

backyard garden overlooking kids playscape

Never before seen view of my side yard.

This small garden sits just behind the fire pit area.

It houses Hostas, Peonies and a Forsythia that I keep tamed.

Woodland Garden

This woodland garden is on the other side of the house. I love the view to the backyard border.

Since returning from vacation, I noticed some powdery mildew on the Tall Phlox.

They will get pulled this week. I’m over them.

The Backyard Gardens

The backyard gardens look incredible right now too!

This week I’m really into the fire pit and vegetable garden areas.

Sedum Autumn Joy is starting to flower, the Hostas are blooming and the Double Impatiens really brighten the border.

blooming garden in July
This is a small garden path that leads from my deck and patio area to the fire pit garden.
backyard gardens and seating area
Summer Perennial and Flowering Shrub Garden

I am loving this garden right now!

Shown are Double Impatiens, Sedum Autumn Joy, Ornamental Grass, Joe Pye Weed, Knockout Rose, Holly, and a Variegated Dogwood.

The Mugo Pine is not looking so good – he’s on the next to go list too.

Summer Perennial Garden
flower garden in bloom in July
Summer Perennial and Flowering Shrub Border

The dogs had me up early to watch the sunrise while we were walking the borders this morning after getting in late las

Outdoor Living Room
The lower deck containers survived while I was away with no groundhog damage. Yay
Outdoor Dining Room
The upper deck containers made it without groundhog damage as well. They all look good and were well taken care of while I was away.
Outdoor Dining Area
stone planter with succulents
Shade Container Idea
Shade Container. Recipe can be found in my blog, Container Gardening.
close up of container garden on deck
The groundhog strikes again! Totally took out my middle deck Coleus while I was away. I added some of my dog’s fur to the pot before leaving for vacation. Looks like he didn’t snack on much but he did take out a stem while trying to get a taste.
Shade Container Idea
Shade Container. Recipe can be found in my blog, Container Gardening.
The Raspberries ripen more and more every day!
blueberry bushes
The Blueberries are not ripening as much as they were a few weeks ago. And the birds are starting to get to them. I could net them, but I’m OK with them snacking at this point.
blueberries and raspberries from the garden in a plastic container
Typical daily berry harvest! Yum!
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Final Thoughts

How do you prepare your gardens before you leave for vacation?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me.

If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed, you can see them here:

Do you love to garden too?

I would love to hear about it and see some photos of your gardens, no matter how big or small.

Please leave your ideas, comments & more below or contact me here.

Thank you for following along and touring the gardens with me.

Happy planting – enjoy your day! xo

Stacy Ling

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    1. Thank you Kimberly! I am so happy to hear that – I really appreciate you stopping by and following along! xo