August 2018 Gardening Tips By The English Lady

August 22, 2018

August has always been one of my least favorite months in the garden; but this year August rated pretty high for me.  We had a late long cool spring, which resulted in later bloom time for everything. We have such a short blooming and growing season here in New England that any extra time to have a good-looking border is much appreciated.  Of course there are always a few gaps to fill in with annuals or some later blooming perennials; the garden is always a project in progress.  

Plantings that looked good last year, may be oversized, and desperately in need of division, therefore in early September get into your borders and transplant some out so that every plant can have its own space with plenty of air circulation and perform to its optimum level.  There are always fellow gardeners who will be thrilled to receive some of these divisions. 

Keep up with your deadheading; the garden should always look fresh and perky. Also after a few hot, dry days make sure that your borders get at least one inch of water a week.  Soaker hoses in the borders are a much more efficient method of watering as the water goes straight to the roots and as a consequence, you do not lose 40% of the moisture in evaporation. Also by using this method you keep water off the foliage, which can result in disease and mildew.

When you cut back tired looking annuals, you will shortly see a new flush of bloom.  If you need even more color to fill in, make a trip to the garden center where now excellent late season bargains are being offered. When the Coreopsis and Spirea has finished blooming, shear off the dead bloom and a new flush will appear; you can do this a few times in a season and enjoy the reward of longer bloom.  

ROSES - stop feeding roses now, as Roses require at least nine weeks before the first frost without additional growth to go into a slow healthy dormancy. 

Containers - give your containers a little extra composted manure every couple of weeks when watering. You can add the manure on top of the mulch as both natural products help retain moisture and keeps down the weeds. If in the morning you do not have time to water the containers before you go off to work or errands, simply empty your ice trays into the containers, this will provide slow release watering through the day until you can add more later.   

Although with the amount of rain we have been experiencing in recent days I don’t see the plants suffering from lack of moisture. 

Powdery mildew  - With all the heat and humidity, powdery mildew is likely to appear on certain species like summer phlox, Monarda and Hydrangeas.  If you see this problem spray with my remedy of one gallon of water in a spray container adding one tablespoon of baking soda and a dash of vegetable oil.  Always spray in the morning before the temperature and humidity numbers combined together go above 160.  

Keep adding more composted manure to vegetables each month supplemented if you like with some fish emulsion, bone meal or blood meal.  Place an old sneaker or a piece of carpet that your dog had lain on for a while in the vegetable garden as these odors help to prevent animals from entering to munch on the vegetables.  

Place your orders for Peonies now so they can be delivered in time for September planting. Only transplant existing Peonies or divide them in September. In November after the first hard frost cut Peonies down to six inches from the ground and add a little natural brown mulch around them to protect the pink-eyed roots, which are close to the soil surface. When planting Peonies or transplanting make sure that the ‘pink eyes’ on the roots are barely covered with soil.  If you plant them any deeper you may not have bloom on Peonies. 

Begin compiling your list of spring bulbs to send in early so that you can the best choice of varieties.  Please feel free to email me any gardening questions to . I’ll see you in your garden next month. Enjoy.