Thursday, August 12, 2010

The August Garden

Let me start by saying, I love gardening. But as much as I love gardening, August brings out the hate.. the hate of gardening. Partly because the garden looks terrible. Here is the garden after I planted most things. Like my helper?

What was pretty in May....

And in June

Or July

By August, awful.... so bad that I cannot bear to look at any pictures.

But there is a lesson in the August garden.

By nature, I have a brown thumb. Yes, you read that correctly. I said a "brown" thumb. Some of my friends can put a stick in the ground and flowers come up in a couple of weeks.

But I have to work hard to create a pretty yard. August is the month of truth. All my weaknesses are on display for friends and family.

  1. The grass has died in several areas.
  2. Tomatoes.. brown stems and look awful.
  3. Roses are ugggg....
  4. Big holes in the perennials where the dahlias did not come back. Hollyhocks died back.
  5. All the pots look tired.
To be fair, Tennessee has had more than 60 days over 90 degrees. Rain has been sparse and watering is never as good as rain.

So what is the lesson of the August garden?
  1. First, gardening is just as much about successes as failures. I became a better gardener by making lots of mistakes, killing lots of plants and the next year, trying again. Be persistent. It will pay off.
  2. Take an inventory of what you need.
  3. As pretty as the garden centers are in spring, I have never really had luck planting bushes, roses, or perennials in the spring. I have now sworn off planting anything but vegetables or annuals in the spring. Fall allows them to develop a strong root system so they can withstand the heat of the summer.
  4. Soil, soil, soil.... several flower beds need some serious amending. I don't have enough compost for them but will figure out how to layer 4 inches of compost, a layer of dry leaves, soil for the top of the layers, bone meal and lastly, I am going to order some worms for the flower beds. They will help loosen the soil and make the compost, leaves and dirt richer for next year.
  5. Fertilize. I am a bad fertilizer. I forget. Compost tea will be my weekly tea for the flower beds. I have another 8 months to figure out how to make it.
  6. September will be busy aerating and seeding the lawn.
  7. Lastly, winterize the garden with a thick layer of straw and some compost to hold it down.

Next year will be better... as always a gardener has hope for next year.


  1. We are struggling here too. It has been so dry!

  2. It happens every year. Good intentions... but then harvesting and preserving take up all my "extra" time and it goes to weeds. The good thing is, the vegetables got a head start and the harvest is good anyway. It's normal, unless you can be a FULL TIME gardener or there are two of you!

  3. your garden was very nice...

  4. Uh huh...I am with you on this gardening post. You know how much I love it too. Today when it was 104, I just looked out the window at wilted plants and decided it was time for things to die peacefully. Well, I'm still hoping they don't die but I'm not hanging out in the heat with them.

    We have large areas in our backyard where the grass didn't fill in. Too shady.

    My new flower bed along the back fence is both sunny part of the day and shady part of the day. Much of what I planted back there isn't happy.

    The pump on our pond keeps turning off and we dont' know why.

    Yes, I'm with you on this post.


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