There is always something to do for those who enjoy gardening. Monthly installations and chores help keep the landscape interesting and tidy.
The flowers of August are many: coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, salvia of all types, sedum, coreopsis and gaillardia.
Coneflowers, also called echinacea, come in colors of red, pink, orange, yellow and white. They have daisy-shaped petals that surround a dark center that cones up as the flower matures. Bees and butterflies cannot get enough of this perennial. Install in partial sun for best results.
Black-eyed Susans are also daisy-shaped flowers available in yellow, gold, orange, burgundy and occasionally a cherry wine color. They’re also bee- and butterfly-friendly. Find black-eyed Susans in the nursery under the name rudbeckia.
Colors and shapes
Salvia thrives in our hot environments, and there are many colors and shapes of flowers to consider. Durning summer, Mystic Spires and Salvia Leucantha (Mexican sage) are mostly available. Sedum is a succulent-like perennial with tall, robust selections that also hit the scene during summer. Sedum Autumn Joy is a sturdy garden favorite, as well as Brilliant.
Threadleaf Coreopsis brings a whimsical look to the garden, with tiny, thread-like leaves holding bounties of yellow, russet, orange or bi-color simply shaped flowers. This perennial is herbaceous and gets better every year.
Fragrance is an important element of gardening for many. You can enjoy some of the landscape’s best fragrances in the early morning, before the heat. The smell of water on the asphalt, the fragrance of the oleander flowers, coneflower blossoms, panicle hydrangeas, star jasmine, the foliage of the tomato plants – these smells evoke childhood memories.
Summer vegetable gardens should be fertilized. Depending on the condition of your vegetables, you’ll need different products. With lackluster growth, consider applying a layer of earthworm castings beneath your plants. For poor leaf color, water deep less often and fertilize with a 5-7-3 formula with a hardy quantity of calcium. If you have great-looking plants but poor flowering or small vegetables, use a high-phosphorus type fertilizer. And pay attention to the calcium content.
Feed your plants
Although it has been a warm summer, we still must fertilize our landscape. Feeding your plants lets them know that you love them and helps them deal with the stress of summer.
As the temperature increases in August and September, we turn to fish emulsion at the nursery to feed our plants. Fish emulsion is water-soluble and easy for all the plants in the landscape to digest. Fertilize plants that have been watered first.
If a plant is weeping and appears stressed, skip the fertilizer and wait until you see signs of recovery before you feed.
This summer, many local crape myrtle trees and shrubs have been experiencing an outbreak of aphids. This garden pest is different than the ones that are on your roses in the spring. The crape myrtle aphid secretes a honeydew that coats the leaves and dirties the rocks, concrete, other shrubs or cars that park beneath the crapes canopy. If left unattended, the leaves of the crape myrtle can eventually get a fungus called sooty mold, which can defoliate it and kill young branches.
Treat infected trees with heavy sprays of oil-based insecticide. Apply this type of product every few days during the wee hours of the morning or the evening. If your trees and shrubs are quite large, you can use systemic insect control. As always, follow package directions or ask a professional for help.
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