Gardening August 2021

From Mélie’s Garden

After a very warm and damp July, it is haircut time in the garden! In many ways, it is the last thing one wants to do in this humid weather – but if you can, cut when it is a bit cooler in the early morning or evening. You will be happy that you did this chore now as the end of summer approaches, which is one of the nicest times on Fishers Island.

I have removed dead leaves from the bearded iris. I’ve also cut back nepeta, germander, lady’s mantle, geranium and yarrow, and dead-headed all the roses, lilies and any other flowers that have faded.  Many plants like nepeta and roses will be more likely to put up a second bloom and the garden will continue to look lovely well into the fall giving it a “Second Act”.

Believe it or not, this is also a good time to look at bulb catalogs and order the variety of bulbs you want for next spring. They will arrive in the early fall for planting before Thanksgiving. I order Asiatic lilies at the same time. The lilies I planted last year have been quite sensational. In July they gave the garden a bit of a punch when other plants like peonies, iris and roses faded. Asiatic lilies are incredibly easy to grow – all you have to do is just pop them in the ground in the fall.  The rabbits seem to have left them alone and hopefully, that will continue.

This year the Henry Ferguson Museum has had some wonderful zoom lectures. A recent one was given by Page Dickey, who is a master gardener and author. Her new book Uprooted describes having to leave the glorious garden she had in North Salem, NY and how she and her husband created a new one in North Western, CT. The decisions she made in choosing her favorite plants for a scaled back flower and vegetable garden are thought-provoking and her life in a new garden setting is inspirational to all that have had to move from a beloved place.

You can listen to Page’s talk, as well as other interesting ones that have been given this summer at the Museum, by clicking

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