Someone once said, “August is the border between summer and autumn.” Known as “summer’s last stand,” or “the Sunday of summer,” August is certainly a time of both endings and beginnings.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a nice list of garden activities you might do to wrap things up—or get things started—in August…
Drench and Quench
First, here in Zone 7A, we know August is going to be HOT and DRY. So be sure your plants get enough water; drench fewer times deeply and thoroughly, rather than many times and shallowly. Pro tip: Use a soaker hose!
Divide Perennials + Plant New Ones
August is a great time to dig up and divide perennial flowers in your garden. That includes hostas, Oriental poppies, lilies, daylilies, ornamental grasses and bearded irises. It’s also time to plant new perennials and flowering shrubs. They’ll take root during the cool, moist weather of fall and be ready to pop into bloom next spring and summer. Keep your new plants well watered if the weather is hot and dry; mulching the beds also helps preserve soil moisture.
Add Fall Color
Give your pots, planters or flower borders a refresh by replacing tired annuals with chrysanthemums, or by simply adding colorful mums to your current mix. Available in an amazing range of colors and shapes, these nectar-rich flowers attract a variety of pollinators including migrating Monarch butterflies. And let’s give them some extra love as they’ve officially been classified as endangered.
Repot Your Houseplants
If you’ve sent your houseplants to summer camp on your outdoor porch or under your trees, chances are they relished their vacay and are showing a lot of new growth. If so, August is the perfect time to move them to slightly larger containers with fresh potting soil. This gives your plants time to acclimate to their new housing before cool weather arrives.
Pull Weeds Before They Give You Seeds
If you’ve been putting off weeding, NOW’S THE TIME. As the growing season winds down, weeds start to produce thousands of seeds that will happily germinate in your garden next spring. The best time to weed is right after a rain, but if rainfall is scarce, water your garden thoroughly the night before you want to get started. As soon as you’ve removed the weeds (and their roots!), cover the area with a thick mulch of compost, straw, leaves, or shredded bark.
Harvest Your Herbs
Herbs can be harvested throughout the summer, but the oils responsible for the most intense flavor and aroma are at their peak in late summer, just before the plants flower. Snip them in the morning after the dew dries, but before the day heats up.
Inspect for Insects and Disease
Be on high alert for bad bugs. These include—but aren’t limited to—thrips, tomato fruitworms and hornworms, spider mites, chinch bugs, scale, Japanese beetles, snails and slugs. If you find them, treat them as needed.
Also, our late-summer heat-and-humidity combo is the perfect setting for plant diseases. Be on the lookout for diseased foliage, remove it, and then dispose of it—but not in the compost pile!
Also, disinfect your tools, such as your pruners, between each plant to avoid spreading disease.
There are many more things you can do in and for your August garden, but keeping your flowers, trees and shrubs, your herbs and your veggies, well hydrated and healthy, will allow them to continue to give you beauty and bounty through this last bit of summer.
You can count on the Garden Market to be here with everything you need to make that happen!
We leave you with this reflection by American author Jenny Han:
“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer.”