August Garden Activities

MS - Hardy Fuchsia in bloom Victoria BC garden
photo by SVSeekins

When watering the garden a hummingbird followed me around just to play in the spray.  It was a Disney moment.  🙂

Irrigation

  • The first 2 weeks of August are the driest of the whole year.  Watering is the main garden activity for me in August. Pulling the hose around myself helps me keep a really close eye on what the plants are up to… but an automated watering system sure is tempting sometimes!
  • Baskets & pots dry out quickly. They can benefit from a drink every day.
  • A good top-dressing of mulch sure helps keep the moisture in the soil where plants can get it, rather than having all that water evaporate in the sunshine.

Seed Saving

lychnis in bloom garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • After the flowers finish up, the plant sets seed. Before the pods open I like to pick & distribute them into areas where more are welcome next year
    eg. snapdragon… goldenrod… lychnis…

Fertilizing

golden rod in bloom, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • A dose of fertilizer in the shrub & flower beds early in the month wraps up that chore for the year.  It’s better to let the season’s growth harden off so it can survive the tough weather in winter.
  • Keep up fertilizing the hanging baskets as they’re primarily annuals that don’t overwinter.  It’s nice to keep the show going as long as possible.
  • It’s always tempting to buy new plants. I try to keep in mind that all new plants, even drought tolerant ones, need watering during the first couple seasons. Their roots haven’t reached deep into the soil where the moisture stays, so they need surface water every couple of days. If I succumb to temptation, the new pots go into a bed near the tomatoes, where I’m more likely  to water them often. (They’ll be planted out into the beds in October when the rains come.)

Weeding

Shasta Daisy - happy blooms
photo by SVSeekins
  • Dead-heading spent blooms can spur plants into another flush of flowers. Delphinium & hardy geranium are into their 2nd flush of flowers 🙂
  • In other cases, like shasta daisies, deadheading is key to stopping its offspring from taking over the world!
  • In even more other cases, like with the lavender, I sheer off the finished blooms just for a tidied look.
  • Wander through the beds pulling the weeds… try not to turn over the soil too much, as that just brings seeds closer to the surface where they germinate & make more weeds…
  • Cut back any diseased leaves & branches now.  (discard without putting in compost)  Later they’re more likely to get mixed in with the fall leaves & it’s not good to put those pathogens in with the good mulch.

Lawns

Japanese Anemone in bloom, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • With the lessening of temperatures toward the end of August, the green starts to return.  Now C might have more to mow than just the dandelions.
  • I’m happy to keep the lawn sprinklers programmed for 1 inch of water every two weeks through mid September.
  • Keeping the mower blade above 2 inches will give the grass’ roots a little shade so they don’t dry out so quickly

Veg / Berry Patch (& Orchard)

tomatoes ripening garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • I love harvest… until I start to panic about what to do with all this zucchini !!  It’s also harvest time for early apples… blackberries… logan berries… goji berries… huckleberries… corn… tomatoes!… squash… beans… salad greens… beets…. cabbage… kale… herbs… It’s harvest heaven Baby!
  • Cut the top-most stem of the tomato plant & pinch off any new flowers. .Remove some of the leaves around the tomato fruit so it gets more sun for ripening.  The improved air circulation around the plant helps avoid disease too.
  • Protect the new baby winter veg from the hot sun & dry weather.  They do their growing now & survive through the cloudy, cold & wet months.
    eg. cabbage…cauliflower… kale… parsnips… broccoli…
  • Once the temperature drops a bit (at the end of the month) try seeding a fall crop of peas & leafy greens.  There’s time before the frost to get a wee crop  & the plants aren’t as likely to bolt as they do in the summer heat.
  • As soon as the raspberries & other cane fruit finish, cut the bush right to the ground. The new canes that grow will produce the berries next year.
Hydrangea in bloom
photo by SVSeekins

Pruning

While it’s still nice and dry, pruning walnut and Japanese Maple is due.  The cuts are susceptible to fungal infection if made during the rainy dormant season.

Planning

I like to photograph the garden now.  These photos come in handy when deciding on the moving & dividing of perennials later in the year.  They also help me figure out the best places to plant new spring bulbs.

Seasonal Color

Crocosmia in bloom, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

trees: apple… peach… nectarine… apricot… plum… fig…
shrubs: hydrangea… roses… summer heather… Oregon grape…  hardy fuchsia… penstemon… butterfly bush…  lavatera… snowberry… himalayan honeysuckle…
perennials: rudbeckia (black-eyed susan)…  asters… echinacea…. agapanthus…  golden rod… lords & ladies… begonias… sea holly… erysimum (wall flower)… bee balm… fall cyclamen… yarrow… coreopsis… phlox…  shasta daisy… valerian… astilbe…  hickory… Japanese anemone…  day lily… St.John’s Wort… campanula… hosta… begonias… dahlias… salvia… geranium… dusty miller…
ferns: sword… giant chain… deer… licorice…
bulbs: colchicum (fall crocus)… gladiola… crocosmia…

Planning & Events

Dahlia in bloom, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

Free entry into the fabulous Glenda Gardens (Horticultural Centre of the Pacific) at the Arts & Music in the Gardens… usually the 1st Saturday after the August long weekend

Check out (or compete with) the biggest & best of garden produce at the Saanich Fair on the Labour Day Weekend…

More art in the garden inspiration is available at the The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria House Tour … usually the 1st Sunday of September.

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© SVSeekins, 2014

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