This month in the garden – August



Mid-Atlantic Region

August Maintenance Guide

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August is the test month of a gardener. If you can make it through August, you can make it anywhere. Except for going after some weeds, it’s best to stay on the porch sipping some tea. While you are relaxing, make a note of what did well and what didn’t. Remind yourself of your poor performers now so that you are not tempted by their pretty faces next year.


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  • There is still time to sow more zinnias. The nectar-rich flowers will be welcomed by the butterflies in the fall garden.


  • It’s not too late to put in your fall bulb order.
  • Plan to plant or moved summer flowering bulbs as the end of the summer season approaches. August is a good time to plant or move amaryllis, Crocosmia, iris, and lily.


  • Remember to keep basil flowers pinched and to pick basil for use in pesto, sandwiches, and other culinary uses.


  • This is definitely not a good time to plant perennials.


  • This is definitely not a good time to trees or shrubs.


  • Ugh, no doubt the Japanese beetles are still around. Continue to pick off a drop into soapy water or for those less squeamish, pluck and squeeze – take that!
  • Plan, don’t plant roses now. Do look around and see varieties you might like to add next year. Choosing roses in bloom takes the mystery out of the difference catalogues depict.


  • Check the mulch – wind, rain, consumption may have lessened the depth, thus lessening the effectiveness. If the mulch in the beds is less than ½ inch, add more.


  • Alas, the weeds are still trudging along. Try the early morning or later in the evening to weed. Best to say out of the heat of the day, most of us are just not as productive in the heat.  Ideally, the best time to weed is right after a rain. But with little rain this month, it makes the task all the harder. However, weeds never sleep, remove them if you can.


  • Bagworms abound! Bagworms can be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or handpick and drop into a bucket of soapy water.

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W A T E R W I S E Gardening


  • Did you know that Hummingbirds are Native Americans? A ruby-throated hummingbird weighs only 3 grams – that’s 1/10th the weight of a first-class letter. The following is a list of a few flowers Hummingbirds love:

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  • Agapanthus
  • Allium
  • Agapanthus
  • Bee Balm

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  • Cannas
  • Honeysuckle
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Petunias
  • Salviass

Maintenance guide and photos by Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence



  1. tina said

    Definitely a test month everywhere. Good tips. This year I am hoping the rain keeps up then I will be most happy and will survive the test.

  2. Hey Tina, we had a couple of weeks that got me worrying and revering my rain harvester, but all in all, it has been a good summer…until yesterday, that is. It looks like summer arrived. H.

  3. Racquel said

    Good advice for August. By that time of summer you’ll find me hibernating indoors to the a/c. 😉 But so far we’ve had a decent amount of rain compared to years past.

  4. The Japanese beetles left my place to go to a neighbor’s veggie garden where they put up FOUR of the those beetle bags! Sent those JBs packing up from my place to head over there. Should I send them a thank-you note?

    Another neighbor feeds the deer corn all year round. We saw a group of deer hanging around after their tummies were full. The scene reminded us of the painting of “Dogs Playing Poker.” I think the deer were hiding their beer bottles!

    Our heat and humidity index will make it feel like 100 degrees today. Today, is my son’s 25th birthday, so I have to cook a big meal tonight!

    This is South. No doubt.


  5. Dawn said

    Bagworm? Ugh and ewww. You have beautiful photos.

  6. Yes Dawn, Bagworms are creep, freaky things! H.

  7. […] Don’t forget to check out my maintenance guide, This Month in the Garden – August […]

  8. With the draught, below normal rainfall, fresh water reserve levels dropping etc we need to make sure we use water wisely in our gardens. Installing a rain water barrel is an excellent way to conserve water. Ensuring that your garden hose does not have a leak, fixing leaky faucets, installing a smart sprinkler controller etc are some ways to conserve water in your garden. More tips on how to use water wisely in your garden can be found at

  9. Weeding in the evenings, when it cools down enough. Berries mostly done, waiting for the fruits now. That’s August.

    Our hummingbirds love Crocosmia and Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) also. That’s a lovely photo of a monarch butterfly – the grasses in the background almost look as if they’re moving.

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