July’s high heat and humidity can really take it’s toll on the August garden. That is why I stress taking the time and effort at the front end of the gardening season to use common sense/sustainable practices. It will assure you a beautiful August garden with abundant blooms and color. Mr. Binx is enjoying my colorful cut flowers indoors this season.
Early Spring Effort/Late Season Rewards
If you did not apply an organic mulch to your bedding areas, July’s dry, high heat conditions will severely impact your perennials and shrubs. That top dress of organic mulch will help retain the moisture and protect your roots. Your spring mulching efforts are richly rewarded. You will experience more blooms on your perennials and shrubs and vibrant colors. Gardens that do not have the benefit of automatic irrigation, will benefit most. Time hand watering or moving around that sprinkler unit is a time sucker. The mulch will help retain that moisture and give your plants that much needed water to thrive.
Here come the Weeds
July also brings those nasty broadleaf, chickweed, nettles (especially noxious, make sure you have thick gloves handling these) ground vetch, etc. If water retention benefits have not convinced you yet on the importance of spring organic mulch application, then hopefully it will in reducing weeds! Yes it is inevitable that you will do a bit of spot weeding throughout the season. But bedding areas rich in organic mulch have FAR LESS weeds. And then, there is my garden mantra “more plants…less weeds”. If you design your gardens with large open spaces devoid of plants you have essentially put up a “welcome sign” for migrating weed seeds. Healthy shrubs and perennials not only take up the space but their root systems will compete for the nutrients over the weeds. So design your gardens to eliminate that open space. You will reap the visual rewards as well as the time to sit back and actually enjoy your gardens.
Best August Blooms for Pollinators
As my gardens have evolved through the years, I have found late July and August the time to experience the beauty of pollinators. My selection of plants and their maturity has provided me the most diverse population of butterflies I have ever seen. It is a banner year for enjoying these beautiful creatures. In our region I have found the following best bets for welcoming the butterflies and other pollinators:
- coneflower varieties
- tall phlox
- Joe Pye weed
- Russian sage
- panicle hydrangea
- butterfly bush varieties
- summer sweet
Welcoming the butterflies adds a unique spiritual nature to my gardens.
Time to sit Back and Enjoy!
In the heat of late summer there is nothing like sitting back with your favorite cool libation in hand and observe the beauty of gardens unfold around you. August is a great time to do just that. Drink in the colors, shapes and pollinator beauty that nature delivers before the weather turns to our drab North Country winter landscapes. When you look out your window to the ice and snow, memories of your time spent in the beautiful August garden will warm your heart and give you hope for the coming season!
As always keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my garden practices. Visit my website for more regional gardening tips:http://www.gardengoddesssenseandsustainbility.com