Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mid-August gardening

In the South, mid-August is solidly summer, really the midpoint of our year-round gardening cycle, both in terms of landscape and vegetables.

It's not time to think about fall planting for native (or non-native) perennials, shrubs or trees, but it's time for vegetables. 

I'm trying to get the mountain beds ready for a fall season, and know that the Piedmont vegetable beds are ready for clean-up and amending. (They looked awful on a quick trip last week;  everything was parched and dry, and the surviving plants had been munched by presumably thirsty woodchucks, and maybe squirrels, too).  Yikes!

A couple of drenching afternoon thunderstorms have helped the mountain beds, vegetables and perennials alike.  The sedum bed (even though drought-tolerant) had been looking wan, but perked up with plenty of moisture.

But, on a (21st century) school schedule, whatever the grade level, fall comes early, and mid-to-late August means back to school.  I'm doing a fall vegetable gardening class on Tuesday, so it's on my mind!

But late summer and fall are great times to enjoy perennials in the Southern U.S.  It's probably our best time, really -- the spring display is best (aside for our native woodland wildflowers) elsewhere, I think.

Rudbeckia, Helenium, and Salvia

Rudbeckia triloba
I enjoyed an unexpected combination of Salvia guaranitica, a Helenium cultivar, and Rudbeckia triloba (a standout this summer in terms of flowers, even it droops on hot days).

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