KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.
The following post is a reprint from August 2008 but we find it very timely, shall we say "timeless" and with the approval of KCB here we go!
Mid-August, some approach it as they approach mid-life, ‘It’s all down hill from this point…’
I am energized by August. For me it is when I truly enjoy ‘my’ gardens.
Everywhere you look, there is life.
Earlier today, I lost count of all the different sizes and shapes of ‘bumble bees’ weaving in out of the petals of a Lime Light hydrangea. I watched a monarch larvae devour a Milkweed leaf while securing another leaf as a blanket. Dragon Flies and Humming Birds dance in the air as butterflies alight on the prickly Cones of Echinacea.
The perennial bed in August is a display of richer colors. Let pastels reign during the earlier months. The crown jewels are the rubies, golds, amethysts, and emeralds of now. Joe Pye towers above Blacked Eyed Susans. Russian Sage and Cosmos sway in the breeze. Succulent Sedum satisfy the soul. Many of these will offer their blooms long after the beach chairs retire.
I recently learned that the Monarchs born in Maine at the end of August or early September are the chosen ones. It will be they who make the migration to Mexico. Goose Bumps as I imagine the fate of the caterpillar I witnessed today.
Yes, summer in Maine is short; winters are long so why not make the most the current season. Do not miss out on a moment. There is still so much gardening that you could do.
Visit your favorite garden center. Take advantage of any sales. Yes, the plants may look a little forlorn, in spite of the diligent care. All they want is to put down roots in a home of their own. I equate them to puppies in a pound. You can almost hear them say ‘pick me’. I spied a lone Fire Witch Dianthus on a bargain table. As I lingered a little too long I could have sworn it perked up, was that a wag? Was it really that happy to see me? I couldn’t resist so I took him home with me. That little guy was given a little corner in a bed, watered, fed and has put forth some blooms. Such happiness at a discounted price. The plant was weed free and healthy just waiting for me. Again, I cannot stress the importance of purchasing from locally owned and operated garden centers. With everything I plant, I mix Penobscot Blend in the soil and offer it a full drink with a water-soluble plant starter. Good beginnings make good blooms even if we must wait until next year for their glory.
Seeing mums before September does something to my stomach akin to sour milk, however if it is almost instant gratification and color you need, go for it. Look for plants that have more buds than blooms. Pansies and violas often will make an encore performance as the weather cools. Want herbs? Why not? Many are still available. The basil you take home today can be used tonight. A client wanted cilantro and all I could find were seeds. In spite of all the rain and no sun in the week since they have been sowed, the eager herb poked thru the earth of its container. I suspect she’ll be able to pick some next week. Just in time for garden fresh tomatoes. Salsa any one?
August is the new April. . We are coming on to the best time add new, divide and transplant. Especially this year. It seems we will escape the ‘global warming’ of consecutive 90 degree weather. When was the last time lawns in August looked this green?
Summer is not over. I may be delusional about a lot of things, however the calendar clearly says we have more than a month in which to say it’s summer.
I’m not ready to give up Chardonnay for Cabernet and you, certainly are not ready to hear me sing.
KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
August 15, 2008
(reprinted for August 23, 2009)