Daylily Flowering in August. Photo by Pawel Czerwinski
August is a fantastic month for garden planning, especially during the first two or three weeks of the month. That’s when it’s too hot to do anything outside, save sitting in a patio chair with an ice-cold drink. With a view of your garden in front of you and pen and paper in hand, note all of the things which are working in the garden and all of the things which are not; what needs to be moved; what needs to be divided; what needs to be repaired; and what new areas of the garden you would like to develop? Towards the end of the month when the evenings begin to cool and working outside becomes pleasurable once again, you will be much better prepared to tackle the work.
Transplanting and dividing is an inevitable and often necessary part of garden care. When plants become too big for their chosen location, conditions in your garden have change (i.e., available light), or an old plant needs to be revived, it’s time to break out the shovel. Here are some simple rules to follow that will greatly aid in a successful transition: Plants should be well watered a day or two before you dig them up. You can also cut back the foliage and flowers of some plants to help focus more of the plants energy on root growth. Make sure you dig up as much of the root ball as possible, and if you are dividing a large plant, cut, or separate the root ball as gently and respectfully as possible. When you are ready to replant, dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball, partially back fill the hole with improved soil (e.g.,triple-mix) and place the root ball in the hole. Fill the hole with water and let the roots soak until all the water has drained from the hole. Do not expose the roots to prolonged sunlight or let them dry out under any circumstances. Using improved soil, completely fill in the hole making sure there are no large air pockets underneath the root ball. Water the plant thoroughly and keep it well watered throughout the fall to ensure a healthy hibernation in winter.
During the last few weeks of August and all through September—at least in Southern Ontario—it is a perfect time to transplant and divide most spring and summer blooming perennials and shrubs. Fall bloomers are often better left for transplanting and dividing in the spring but this is not always the case. Before removing a plant from the ground do your research to make sure you understand the plants individual preferences. This will ensure optimum success.
Transplanting in the late summer and early fall has its advantages. Due to the cooler weather, the top growth of the plant begins to slow down and the root growth becomes more active, which helps the plant re-establish itself in the ground a lot quicker. But do not wait too long into the fall to do your transplanting. Newly planted roots need to settle in before the ground freezes, and this generally takes about six to eight weeks. Waiting until October becomes risky business.
August is also a great time to prepare new garden beds. By making sure the soil has been enriched and the bed is ready for planting by the end of August, you will be giving your new plants more than adequate time to establish themselves in their new home before winter sets in. And just think… the excitement of seeing your new garden in bloom the following spring will help carry you through those cold dreary winter months ahead.
Check in with us once a month between March and October for tips on how to care for your garden.
At Design for Conscious Living® we love what we do and take pride in what we design. If you dream of turning your property into a beautiful garden oasis let us put our expertise to work for you.