Thursday, August 4, 2011


Falk-Columbo.jpg(Photo of Columbo, played by the late Peter Falk)
Have you ever come in from 90+ degree weather and felt bedraggled?  Webster calls bedraggled: “To make limp and soiled as with rain or dirt.”  Dang that’s so right.

Gardens get bedraggled about this time of year, too.  It’s too much of something and not enough of something else.  It’s the end of bloom times for some plants and others are out of control. 

 Although hot and humid, it’s the perfect time to take bedraggled to bedazzled.  Webster calls bedazzled: “Impress forcefully especially so as to make oblivious to faults or shortcomings.”  Yep, that’s exactly where we need to head as August makes its way into our gardens.

Any weeds that have emerged since your last big pull should be destroyed or they will set seeds.  If you haven’t added an additional layer of mulch this summer, it’s a good time.   

Next, trim off stems from any plant that’s stopped blooming and has no more flower buds.  Don’t trim off any stems with seed heads if you want them to self seed.

Don’t trim off the leaves because the plant needs the nourishment through them to withstand winter and set flowers next year. 

Two plants that can be tidied up by trimming off flower stems are daylilies and hostas.  Cut the stems instead of pulling as they may be strongly attached.

Any bush that benefits from pruning may have a final haircut of the season.  Scraggly bushes make the entire garden look unkempt.

Dead branches may be trimmed out of bushes and trees. 

While in the yard, it’s a perfect time to inspect for insect or disease damage.  There’s some nasty stuff going around this year and a plant benefits from fast action to eliminate the source (if possible.) 

Home gardens benefit from weeding this time of the year to help the vegetables get their full amount of sun.  Weeds not only keep them from ripening and steal away nutrients; they add the possibility of mildew because air can’t circulate.

Destroy any diseased brush and weeds.  Compost the rest. 

Cut off the branching portion of the spent oriental and Asian lilies, leaving the rest of the stalk and leaves.

Perennials such as bishops weed, buttercup, dame’s rocket, Shasta daisy, forget-me-not, etc. may be trimmed down to a mound and they will often bloom again.  I always leave a portion in the fall to self seed - making sure I have a good crop the next year.

If annuals are getting leggy, trim them back to a set of leaves and they may rebloom.  If they are beyond help, pull and plant with new plants. 

I seldom divide perennials in the fall simply because I try to do as little watering as possible.  If you decide to divide or plant new, make sure they have adequate moisture until the ground freezes. 

“The work of a garden bears visible fruits -
in a world where most of our labors seem suspiciously meaningless.” 
From:  Pam Brown

Side note:  Thanks to Diane Nelson of Prairie Country Gardens, Galva, IL for her years of providing a nice selection of garden plants and accessories; your store will be missed.  I wish her well in her new endeavors.          

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