Don’t let summer’s heat go to your head. These U.S. gardening guides will help you make sensible choices for all of your plantings:
There is much to be done and enjoyed in the August garden. Butterflies abound, while the magenta, burgundy and orange hues of late-summer bloomers foreshadow fall colors. Give your containers and summer edibles some love by keeping them appropriately watered and fed. Deadhead spent summer flowers for repeat blooms — or let them set seed to provide food and habitat for wildlife through the coming months. As you go, take stock of what you see in the yard, preparing for fall planting. Here’s what to do in U.S. gardens in August.
Northwest. "Keep on deadheading roses, Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum), dahlias and other summer-flowering plants," Genevieve SchmidtBy removing spent flowers, you encourage the plant to continue setting new buds and put energy into blooms for the rest of the summer."
Southwest. “Noelle JohnsonUse a slow-release all-purpose fertilizer, which lasts about three months, or apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. You will be rewarded with bigger plants and more blooms.,” writes
Mountains. "The high heat of August is not the time to divide or move plants, but it’s a great time for planning ahead for an active September and beyond," Jocelyn Chilvers. "Look at your garden with a critical eye as you plan your shopping and work lists for the cooler days to come."
Texas. “Light, frequent waterings will simply encourage shallow roots, which will not serve your plants well in times of heat and dry weather. It’s preferable to water more deeply but less often, encouraging your plants’ roots to dig down deep into the soil,” writes Jenny Peterson“Avoid watering directly onto the foliage of your plants, and water earlier in the morning or later in the day to avoid rapid evaporation,” she advises. “Better yet, install drip irrigation or to direct water closer to the plants’ roots.
Central Plains. “This is prime butterfly season. You can deadhead flowers and hope for a second, smaller flush, or leave them up for winter interest,” Benjamin Vogt. “Most birds will eat the seeds in fall, so you have to decide if deadheading is worth the gamble. Usually it’s best to leave up coneflowers and other mid- to later-summer bloomers, while early summer blooms might be a good bet to cut back. Here a tiger swallowtail is enjoying a pit stop.
Northeast. "Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp) is blooming along roadsides and in meadows," Charlotte AlbersThis native wildflower is widely adaptable and grows well in poor soils, so it's a good choice for a rain garden or swale, or to put in an area where water pools when rains are heavy.""The species is a bit intimidating — just too tall for most gardens, but there are shorter versions. This is 'Phantom' (Dupatorium x 'Phantom,' zones 4 to 8), a dwarf that grows about 40 inches tall and attracts honeybees and butterflies."
Mid-Atlantic. “While the temperatures are scorching now, cool weather will be here in a couple months, so now is the time to start seeding cool-season plants,” I love planting a second run of greens like chard (pictured), spinach and a variety of lettuces. Wait for a summer rainstorm and get out there and seed!
Southeast. “Select and preorder your spring-blooming bulbs now while supplies are plentiful,” writes North Carolina garden writer Helen Yoest. “Don’t put off today what will be gone tomorrow. The most unusual bulbs sell out fast. I can say this now because I’ve already put in my order. Try something fun such as the species tulip Tulipa clusiana.”