AUGUST IS THE TIME to obtain as many perennials as you can; from azaleas to weigelas, most are deeply discounted now at garden centers. No matter how decrepit-looking or pot-bound they might be, just plant them in good soil, and keep them moist. Their beauty will return when spring arrives. (Click below for more August tips.)
Annuals. Take cuttings from your impatiens plants and petunias, and root them in pots of good soil. Brought indoors before frost, these colorful annuals will bloom from January on.
Bulbs. It’s the early gardener who gets the best tulips, hyacinths, narcissi and other cherished spring bulbs. Order these now, and you won’t be disappointed. I obtain most of my bulbs from easytogrowbulbs.com; for heirloom varieties, I rely on oldhousegardens.com.
Compost. Turn the compost pile and water it well.
Daylilies. Following a heavy rain, divide and transplant big clumps.
Herbs. Harvest and store your herbs, or use them in cooking. Throughout August I’ll offer a number of delicious herb-based recipes that you won’t want to miss!
Lawns. Let the weather, not the calendar, dictate your mowing routine. Do not mow at all during times of drought. (Frankly, mowing has been a relentless task here, with record rainfall in June and July, plus the mother-of-all-storms yesterday.)
Roses. Fertilize now for autumn bloom.
Vegetables. Keep picking broccoli to insure further production. Harvest potatoes when vines die back. Also, make new sowings of salad greens, onions, beans and carrots.
A nice extra. Buy a few squirrel-proof birdfeeders, and suspend them where they can be viewed from windows. Should winter arrive early, as some are predicting, your birds will be grateful for your thoughtfulness. Even during blizzards I have enjoyed watching the red wings of cardinals and the white tails of juncos dash in and out of my own feeders, including the one that hangs just outside my office window.
If heat and humidity are high, sit back and enjoy a cool, refreshing drink. You might find that my Rose-Geranium Iced-Vodka is the ideal gardening tool for August.
You, of course, probably have your own list of August “to-do’s.” Why not share them in the comments section below?