Summer is winding down, but it's not quite done yet. Before we start the transition into fall, August is a great time to enjoy your late-season garden – many perennials are still in bloom, foliage is still green and bright, and the birds are appreciating all those early flowers that have gone to seed.
But why let it all fade with the shorter days ahead?
These last few weeks of summer are also the perfect time to get your garden ready to shine into the fall!
Reflect & Plan
A beautiful fall garden starts with a plan. What plants that you have now will provide color into the fall? What annuals will need to be pulled out, and what perennials need to be divided or relocated? And then the really fun question: what plants do you want to add before the fall?
As the major flowering season starts wrapping up for some plants, August is also the time to reflect on your spring and summer garden – and start thinking ahead for next year. What plants did well this year, and which ones did you enjoy the most? Make notes and take pictures of this year's garden to remember.
Maintain & Tidy Up
Many of the hands-on gardening tasks that need tackling in August are about maintenance and cleanup. At this point in the summer, adding some new compost can help your plants stay strong throughout the rest of the season, as well as get your soil ready for new plantings.
It's also a good time to check on the mulch in your garden beds: tidy up any mulch that's escaped the beds, and add more mulch where needed. Keeping a decent layer of mulch all season long helps prevent weeds from sprouting in your beds.
Many plants will continue flowering throughout August as long as they're properly maintained. So keep deadheading those spent blooms! (For self-seeding annuals you would like to have again next year, be sure to leave some flowers on the stem so they can develop seeds.) Some perennials with early blooming seasons, such as the geranium Rozanne, will also bloom again later if the foliage is cut back around this time.
Some annuals don't quite make it this far in the summer, though, so August is the time to pull up plants that are done for the year. This helps your garden look nicer, and makes room for any fall perennials you want to add!
Plant for Fall
Once your garden has been tidied up, and you've made plans about what you want to add for fall, it's time to start planting those fall flowering perennials! A few great choices are asters, certain clematis varieties, and tickseed.
Keeping up with light garden maintenance in August, and planning ahead for the fall and spring, will help your garden stay in top shape through this season and into the next!