By: Lisa Briggs | Thursday, July 30th
The Dog Days began later than usual this year and don’t end until August 22nd, so there’s still plenty of sultry summer weather in the future. Cicadas and crickets have been singing us to sleep, and nights, though still warm, are noticeably longer. It’s a fact, sad but true. The season of extended summer days never seems long enough, but it’s time for gardeners everywhere to reap what they have sown.
Give your garden borders and containers a quick pop of color by replacing tired looking Impatiens and Geraniums with plants that will thrive in the cooler temperatures to come. Pansies, Kale, and Garden Mums are all great choices. They’ll provide lots of colors through summer’s end and into autumn. And if you’d rather plant perennials, don’t forget about Asters, Toad Lilies, and all of the Ornamental Grasses. They’ll be spectacular as they begin to flower.
There are a few garden chores that are best done in August. Now is the time to divide your German Iris. Dig them up carefully and cut the fans back to a height of 6-inches. Remove any damaged or mushy spots on the rhizomes. Discard any parts of your rhizomes that are affected by Iris Borers. Dip cut ends in a 10% bleach/water solution. Then lay the fans in a shaded spot for a couple of days to so that the cut ends begin to dry. When ready to replant, space your divisions about 6-inches apart and be sure to plant them just below the soil surface with fans pointing up. If you’d like to try some different varieties, new rhizomes should be arriving by the end of August in the Garden Center.
The Japanese Beetle reports have been mixed this year, with some gardeners complaining of heavy infestations while others, knock on wood, have been passed by. One gentleman who has low numbers explained that he, and his neighbors, have all been treating their lawns with grubicides. Something to consider for next year. In the meantime, there are several insecticides that you can use to control the population. Stop into the Garden Center and we’d be happy to help you find the option that will be best for you.
We’ve had several folks at the Plant Information Desk with samples of Magnolia Scale, one of the newer garden scourges. Watch for sticky patches on leaves and gray, waxy structures on this year’s twigs. Even if your plants have been scale-free so far, we recommend that you treat the crawler stage now with a spray-on systemic insecticide. The Garden Center stocks a couple of choices. And mark your 2021 garden calendar for a late winter application of dormant oil spray.
And keep applying fungicide on any plants affected by Powdery Mildew as long as the weather stays humid. We’ve seen it on Peonies, Lilacs, Phlox, and Ninebark. Revitalize is our favorite treatment.
Autumn Crocus bulbs will arrive in the Garden Center by mid-month. And if you plant them right away, they will bloom this fall. Be sure to remember that these plants will send up leaves in the spring, followed by flowers in the autumn. Other fall bulbs, like Daffodils and Allium, will be here right around Labor Day. Who wants to take a guess what the newest tulip color or shape will be this year?
And don’t forget to enjoy an outdoor evening. Weather permitting, we’ll be outside, looking skyward on the nights of the 11th, 12th, and 13th. The Perseid Meteor shower should be spectacular as the Full Moon occurs on the 3rd and will be waning.