Gardening August 2020

From Mélie’s Garden

Hibiscus in August Garden

It is hard to believe that it is now August and we are half the way through summer! I think that all of us who have gardens will agree that they have brought us special pleasure this year. So we want to keep them going as long as possible and to do that, it is especially important to deadhead all plants so they will continue to bloom and weed to keep the unwanted pests from stealing important nutrients and moisture. After August 15th it is usually safe to put in new plants, so they can become well established before the cold weather arrives in mid fall. Be sure to enrich the soil with good compost and water the new arrivals well once a day until they have acclimated.

This summer we have enjoyed wonderful lilies that I have added to the flower beds to give them some extra color in July. They have grown very well and the rabbits seemed to have left them alone due to placing nepeta (cat mint) nearby. Rabbits seem to hate it and therefore keep away. The lilies are from various families, Asiatic, Heirloom, and Orientpet. I bought them from John Scheepers and have planted the bulbs each fall for the last couple of years. They have done well and their blooms have lasted for a number of weeks until early August.

Once the lilies have faded, I look forward to the Hibiscus (Swamp Rose Mallow) planted in the field flowerbeds. They provide a nice punch of color in August and butterflies love them. I have found that in spite of their name “swamp” they don’t mind regular garden soil, but do like the sea air around them, so I don’t know how they would do in a garden that is not along the coast. Race Rock sold the plants last year and there is a good variety to be found in “The Plants Delights” catalog.

And finally, we have enjoyed a wonderful ornamental Banana plant (Ensete Banana Maurelii) that I bought on a whim from Race Rock last summer. It is in a large plastic pot that moved indoors for the winter where it became dormant. Irish gardener, Helen Dillon, told me that she always uses a collection of extra potted plants to pop into a flowerbed when something is removed or a section of the garden has stopped blooming. Last year we had to remove a very overgrown Mugo pine and it left a big gap in a bed next to the house. So I put the Banana plant there to fill the space and we liked it so much that it is back there again this summer. It is fun to have a few surprises in your garden especially ones that you can move around and use for a number of years!

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