Cottage Garden

Cottage Gardening

the blog:
August Garden Chores
for the South


August is a good time to begin planning for Fall and next spring
in the south – and these are things you too can begin to think about
if you’re in a different location – the seasonal changes are coming
to us all.

August is a wonderful time to peruse garden catalogs and to plan
and order bulbs you’d like to add to your garden.

We are quite familiar with spring blooming crocus and daffodils,
but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are a number of
fall blooming bulbs for your garden.

I begin to look for our now familiar Hurricane Lilies or Spider Lilies.
These have been growing in Southern homes for decades – you can
actually tell where a home once stood by the numerous bulbs that
make their appearance in the spring and in the fall.
It is an enchanting sight to see a wooded overgrown area fill with
daffodils and bluebells.

Here are some Fall blooming bulbs:

Autumn Crocus-Colchicum

Lycoris radiata

Autumn Daffodil – Sternbergia lutea

This is also a good time to dig up and to plant Iris. Planting
at this time gives them a head start on the upcoming winter months.
If you’re dividing Iris that have become crowded and have not
been producing flowers, you can dig up the entire plant -separate
by hand or by knife, remove any damaged or dead rhizonme and
cut back the foliage by 2 to 3 inches. Amend the soil you’re planting
the Iris in with a lot of organic material. Water thoroughly and
continue watering weekly until frost.

At this point, either your summer annuals have survived and prospered
or are beginning to show stress and are withering and drying. Cut back
and remove any damaged plant. You can replace them with mature
annuals, but it might be better to choose a couple spots in the garden
as focal points and to concentrate on garden clean up and fall preparation
elsewhere. October is the best time to consider planting in these beds
with Pansies and such.


This is a good time to prune back your roses to produce a flush of blooms
for September – in the far south you can cut them back by as much as 1/2
in the northern South – by 1/3. Everblooming roses like ‘Nearly Wild’
actually ‘benefit from a good shearing now’ (Walter Reeves). You can fertilize
your roses with 10-10-10 at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per foot in height as
well as a ‘quick pick-me-up’ spray directly on the rose’s leaves using products
like Miracle-Gro or Watch-Us-Grow. You’ll want to dilute the normal rate
applied to 1/4 strength. Watch your watering. Roses are affected just as much
by too much water as by not enough. If the soil is moist to two inches and
the roses are showing signs of stress and wilt, dig it up to make sure the roots
have not begun to rot – trim off damaged roots, amend soil and replant roses.

It is still too hot to plant vines, ground covers, shrubs and trees in the south,
but  you can begin preparing the soil for their arrival. This is also a good time to
cut the fading blooms from Hydrangeas – their dried blossoms can
last for months even years.

I will be doing a lot of planning myself, preparing soil, and weeding.
I have determined a spot for my cutting garden – I can so envision it
as I pass that part of the garden –

I have a mystery in my garden – with a couple of possible answers.
On my crabapple tree there are a few full-sized apples. One
theory is that they’ve mutated due to fertilization on that
side of the tree and another theory is that this crabapple tree
was grafted onto the stalk of an actual apple tree – I am leaning
toward the second theory – what do you think?
Gardening is such a wonderful joy and gift – it is so very satisfying
to your heart, mind and to your soul.

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