Take a Deep Breath – August Gardening is Not So Bad

August-Garden-0If  you get rain. I always smile a bit when gardeners complain about hot, dry August gardening. Walk to the grocery store for bread and come home with burnt toast. Ya, it has been that hot and dry.

Really it is not as bad if you plan for it with plants that take that kind of heat. Around mid-July, I did a post titled, Garden in July – Dusty Doldrums of Summer. The garden held up OK through July and some of the plants are still blooming like a banshee. I did not have to plant any sizzling cactus yet though.

August-Garden-8I concur that having unending drought month after month like my area has experienced can take a toll on enthusiasm and turn smiles to frowns. The storms have been hit-and-miss depending on where you live. Here they keep missing. Local weather people keep pushing the wonderful weather we are having or telling us of a great week of weather that lies ahead. Seriously? The garden says no, we want rain!

Watering the garden every four days is a chore that makes my blood boil. If you want tall plants standing strong and not flopping like a limp noodle, you water.

The native plants like aster, monarda, phlox and agastashe look rather tired and dry. The scabiosa, butterflyweed and sage also are a bit weary. Even the diehard dry-weather plants like lavender, Perovskia and verbena are asking for water. The Rudbeckia is only 16 inches tall, a midget compared to most years. Coneflowers are crisping.

So what seems unphased? The petunias, verbena, zinnias, gaillardia, osteospermum, gazanzia, and to my surprise, the snapdragon. See a pattern? Not all are pampered in containers either.

The August garden is a bit less tidy because I quit tending it, but it still offers up a lot of color, just a lot more green.

Just seeing that CA may be in for an El Niño surprise, I looked at the prediction maps for here. Just as suspected and what we are experiencing, it looks to be less than average rainfall for us this El Niño. Boy has this weather made a topsy-turvy about-face.


So what is in store this week? I am in Pennsylvania with a group of Buffalo buds. That’s Buffalo gardening folks on their way to see gardens. I feel a bit like a tour guide myself since I will be on my real home turf. I plan to take you guys along to give you a Pennsylvania welcome too.


PA has some real humid, scorching weather in the +90°F range this week. Grab your sun hats, shorts, sunglasses, and get your Philly swagger on, you’re hitting the Main Line of Philadelphia. Gotta get me the famous Philadelphia cheese steak, but watch them have spicy Buffalo wings sizzling on the sidewalk. Wipe your sweat-furrowed brow, off we go.

More of my containers, Container Gardening and Cluster Theory – In Garden Design. Good bye garden, hope you are alive when I get back.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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16 Responses to Take a Deep Breath – August Gardening is Not So Bad

  1. I agree…plan for those hot, dry summers with plant choices. We have luckily had a storm every 10 days that actually waters and doesn’t tease. We have had one bad drought here a few years ago, but I still didn’t water my perennials. I only water the containers and veg garden and the veg garden only if we don’t get periodic rain every so many days. Hoping you get some much needed rain….seems the rain in NY has been mostly south of the Thruway.

    You are heading to Philly? My home turf actually, but I haven’t been back in years. Looking forward to seeing upcoming posts and photos.

  2. rose says:

    I would join in and complain with you, Donna, but guess what–I woke up to rain! The first good rain in weeks, and I can just see my flowers raising their heads to drink it all in. Your garden is a vision of color right now; you’d never know it was thirsty.

  3. Plenty of rain in UK when I was back for a camping festival weekend! August here has I think become wetter but school hols, camping and rain are quite common! Spain still very hot and dry but at least one big storm at beginning. Your garden looks terrific and so natural.

  4. It’s so weird to hear you complain about the hot, dry weather. It hasn’t been that hot, and it certainly hasn’t been dry. We got water in our basement this past weekend, and it looks like it’s going to rain again in a minute. Drive to my house and you can fill your watering can from my rain barrel. Have a great time in PA!

  5. Preaching to the choir up here in the Northwest. We are hot and dry and very cranky. ; -) I’m watering every-other day, all of it hand-watering. Your garden looks so beautiful, Donna! (love that shot of hot-orange with bee) And so well-behaved being left alone. Think I’d better pay a visit to one of my local nurseries for something blooming that actually likes our August drought. Looking forward to your Pennsylvania tour.

  6. Ooh, love the Hibiscus with the Perovskia. I also have lots of Zinnias and some Gaillardia and it is almost freakish how indifferent they are to moisture. Rain? Drought? They just shrug and keep blooming.

  7. Loretta says:

    Lovely post, and welcome to PA, if you are in Philly, we are about. A 35 minute drive south in Wilmington, DE. I wonder which gardens you will be visiting. It’s awful here too, bone dry and nasty heat, but we are promised some rain from the Tropical depression the next few days, I hope they are right. Happy travels, your garden looks lush, I have given up on mine this week.

  8. Your garden is looking great despite the weather. You have some interesting plants, especially those you refer to as native. We grow these here in the UK and to us they are exotic!

  9. We are having the most wonderful hot summer though with water restrictions many of our plantings are beginning to show the stress.

  10. There are so many weather extremes across the US that it is scary. You never know what to expect. We had a more than significant amount of rain earlier in the season, but the past few weeks have been pretty dry. Last night there was quite a bit of rain around the Syracuse area, but about 40 miles north of there only a few sprinkles. Your gardens look great. Mine look tired. Things are getting crispy, too, like the lily-of-the-valley and I really don’t want to trim them back. Too much work.
    Have a great time in PA. Looking forward to your photos. It’s got to be a challenge there to garden in their extreme high temperatures, too.

  11. Alice says:

    Rain, yes, last night! But not ever so many flowers.

  12. It is such a joy to walk through your garden to see what is in bloom, the photos are stunning.

  13. Your garden still looks pretty amazing from your photos. Sorry to hear that you’ve had drought for a while–that’s so frustrating! We had high heat and drought for two weeks, and that was enough! Last night we had a nice summer thunderstorm, and the plants are soooo happy. Lovely garden photos, as always. 🙂

  14. Sorry it has been so dry in your area. Have a great time in PA. My understanding is that it has been hot off and on there but it has rained. My miniature hosta stock has not required much watering even though it is in 32 packs. Have fun!

  15. Les says:

    Massively watering the garden before leaving on vacation has always made it rain for me. I wish you the same luck.

  16. Annette says:

    Oh, these gorgeous pics, Donna! Fab borders and gardens – yep, it was hot and dry and a bit tiring with the watering but I try to keep it to a minimum and now I can take a breath because we finally had rain and things are turning green again.

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