August Bloomers

Friday, August 28th, 2015 by Jenny Watts
    • Cool season vegetables should be planted right away to insure good crops this fall. Broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and kale can be planted now.
    • Feed rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias with a “bloom” fertilizer to encourage flowers for next spring.
    • When perennials have finished blooming, cut them back by about one third, or to a flush of basal growth, to promote repeat bloom on coreopsis, lavender, penstemon, phlox, salvia, scabiosa and Shasta daisy.
    • Plant snapdragons and stock now for for cool season color this fall and winter.
    • Sow these vegetable seeds directly in the soil: carrots, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radish, spinach and root vegetables. Keep the surface of the soil moist until the seedlings are established.

Look What’s Blooming in August

In the months of May and June our gardens are bursting with colorful perennials. There’s no end to the variety of flowers that are blooming in early summer. But by mid-summer, the garden may start to look a bit “over the hill.”

There’s really no reason why your flower beds shouldn’t look wonderful all summer. Except that most gardeners do most of their planting in the springtime and end up choosing plants that are in bloom at that time. August is a month for “late bloomers.”

Bursting onto the scene are the sky-blue, spherical flower heads of Lily-of-the-Nile, or Agapanthus. This handsome landscape plant, known for its light blue or white flowers, now comes in a rich dark blue as well.

A nice complement to the upright stalks of Agapanthus is Gaura, nicknamed ‘Whirling Butterflies.’ This wispy plant sends up slender spikes of starry white or pink blooms in a vase-shaped fountain. The white form reaches four feet tall while ‘Siskyou Pink’ only gets two feet tall.

Hummingbirds will be attracted by the bright red blossoms of ‘Lucifer’ Crocosmia, or Montbretia. It forms clumps of sword-shaped leaves with sprays of flowers on 3 foot stems. This is a striking improvement over the traditional orange flowers.

‘Goldsturm’ Rudbeckia is a golden yellow, black-eyed Susan on a truly perennial plant. It makes clumps of 2-foot stems that are covered with daisies for many weeks, and it comes back year after year. It is a great companion plant for ornamental grasses. Try it with Mexican Feather Grass, Stipa tenuisima.

Gerbera daisies are grown for their bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers. They are native to South Africa and come in many colors including pink, yellow, salmon, orange, red and white, with flowers up to 5 inches across.
Gladiolus, with their tall spikes of flowers in almost every color, make wonderful cut flowers. Plant the bulbs in the back of the perennial border as they grow 3- to 4-feet tall.

Asters come into their own in late summer and fall. Michaelmas daisies are the old-fashioned asters that cover themselves with blue, purple, red or pink flowers and attract butterflies to your garden.

Butterflies will also enjoy the airy purple blooms of Verbena bonariensis. It makes a dramatic statement with its slender, willowy stems that stand up to 6 feet tall and do not need staking.

With their large, ball-shaped flower heads, hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Their clear blues, vibrant pinks, and frosty whites add a coolness to the shady garden on hot summer days.

Don’t let your flower garden slip into the summer doldrums. Plant some lovely “late bloomers” now.