Gardening in August
EVERY gardener knows that SweetAlyssum, variety Little Gem, is among, if not the best, plant to use tooutline beds or borders. In this month it needs a good shearing or cutting backat least half way, so that new growth is encouraged and the blooming season isprolonged until frost.
In August one begins to make newseedbeds and sow seed in order to have early blooming plants for the nextyear's garden. Pansies, Snapdragons, the biennial Forget-me-nots, Bluets, Silene, and English Daisies may all be sown the latter part of this month orearly in next, to bloom the following May.
Seed-gathering time is still at itsbest in the garden, though the work has lost its first novelty and charm.Commencing the latter part of May with the seed of the perennial Scabiosa,Sweet Williams, Gaillardias, and the seed of the Painted Daisies ready to begathered early in June, the gardener is kept quite busy throughout the season.One never regards this work as a task, because there is a fascination about itthat few can resist.
Feverfew is usually at its best blooming periodin this month from spring-sown seed. The flowers, while not at all showy orconspicuous, form clusters of miniature rosettes that are exceedingly useful ascut flowers and make a splendid addition to the flowerbeds. In order to do awaywith that long wait for the period of blossoms, try sowing seed in both Falland Spring. The fall-sown seed will bloom by June and often last through partof July. The spring-sown seed will be in bloom by the time the older plantshave finished; thus keeping a supply of those blossoms through the season.
Floral advice, like health hints, has frequentchanges. What may be accepted as a rule to be followed one year withoutdeviation, may become obsolete a few years later. But this only spells progressand growth and should be welcomed. Until recently the advice has always been toplant Freesias in August (provided one could procure them) or else the crop ofblossoms would be a failure. Now, the earliest date for planting is September,with the pleasant assurance that they may be planted as late as November withreasonable expectation of success; the claim being made that when plantedearlier than September that the bulbs will not have had sufficient rest andcannot make strong plants that produce large fine flowers. This, perhaps,explains those weak spindly plants with which all of us are acquainted. TheNovember planting will, naturally, produce a crop of late blossoms.
August is the first month, after the earlySpring, in which it is safe to move the Oriental Poppy. The roots are dormantat this season and the transplanting is more likely to be successful than atany other season. This is the only point they seem to be at all fussy about, asthey live and grow in any kind of soil. These flowers add brilliant color tothe garden and one has a choice of colors such as crimson scarlet, salmon-pink,orange-apricot, and also white. The old objection to these flowers was thattheir vivid coloring sometimes clashed with that of other plants in the garden.This objection can no longer be maintained.
August brings the planting time of the MadonnaLilies (L. Candidum). It is to be hoped that you have already sent in yourorder and have the bulbs ready to go in the ground. If you are a beginner inLily growing, plant the old, reliable sorts at first; then, after you are atleast on speaking terms with these you can branch out with the more exactingsorts. This month is a good time to begin with the Madonna Lily. Make the Lilybed in an open, fully exposed place. The Madonna prefers sandy soil, and thebulbs should be planted in nests or beds of sand, and seem to do better ifplaced slightly on one side.
The gardener has, by this time, found that amongthe garden plants he has some rapid spreaders, either by root-growth or seedbroadcasting. These root-spreaders overrun the space allotted to them andencroach on their neighbor's territory unless they are kept in check bypinching or weeding out. In these two classes are found Achillea, the Pearl,a rapid spreader; and Anchusa, Italica Dropmore, but this is easilykept in control by cutting the bloom stalks before the seed ripen; Linari orToad Flax truly deserves its other name of Mother of Thousands, for, seemingly,when one plant is pulled up two plants appear in its place. Arabis or RockCress is another rapid spreader, and though small, makes a perfect mat; blueEupatorium, often mistaken for Ageratum, spreads rapidly by rootgrowth and withsuch luxuriant stemgrowth above ground that, when used as a border for theflower beds, it chokes and smothers all other plants in the bed. Strange to saythe white Eupatorium. does not have this fault. Ranunculus also belongs in thisgroup; the spreading roots needing to be cut back to the space rightfullybelonging to the plants; needs plenty of space. Sweet Rocket will sow itselfbroadcast if permitted, though the young plants can be moved in the Fall tomore appropriate quarters.