After arguably the best June in recent memory, our local area endured a hot, dry summer. We gardeners have kept a close—almost obsessive—eye on the weather forecasts hoping Mother Nature will eke out some measurable precipitation. Luckily, some plants thrive as summer heats up.
Perhaps you have a few plants that flower through sweltering August afternoons? Once established, some plants are drought-tolerant, among them are Black-Eyed Susan, Russian Sage, Threadleaf Tickseed, and Yarrow.
Then for a kaleidoscope of color there are the Autumn mainstays such as white, purple, blue, or pink Asters; various colored Chrysanthemums; and velvety textured Celosia with their deeply saturated hues of burgundy hot pink, orange, red, and yellow.
Keep in mind, even the most reliable summer bloomers stage a stronger show when you faithfully remove (deadhead) faded flowers. As you may have experienced, It’s not uncommon for plants to wilt on hot afternoons even though soil has adequate moisture. The wilting occurs because plants are losing water faster than their roots can absorb it. Leaves should revive by early evening, after the sun is no longer directly on leaves. If not, water deeply.
You have carefully tended your perennials, annuals and shrubs for months, but don’t give up the gardening tasks just yet. Some shrubs need weekly deep watering now. Loyal rhododendrons are beginning to form flower buds for next year’s show, and adequate water is vital. Fruiting plants, such as hollies and firethorn, need water to ensure berries mature and don’t drop.
Yet there are a few tasks you should quit doing. As August arrives, put away your pruners as far as evergreens are concerned. If you prune now, you risk plants pushing new growth, which won’t harden off and will be killed during winter’s chill. And stop feeding roses this month so that growth can harden sufficiently before a killing frost arrives, helping reduce the amount of winter damage.
Late summer/early fall is a great time to make a bouquet from the fading multi-hued hydrangea flowers. And why not create a stunning arrangement from abundant dahlias blooms currently bursting with color and style?
Yes, the summer season is waning, but before you know it, the fall foliage, in all its glory, will decorate our landscapes with an autumnal complexion!