Which month is hottest for flower gardens – July or August?

Thank goodness July has come and gone, but the heat is still on.

It seems July has been the hottest month ever. No – hold on – August is known as the hottest month of the year!

My question is, when do we get a break?

Despite the dedication of the Cultura Garden Club members and the city’s street department, watering, watering and more watering of the plants downtown daily has not prevented this heat from burning up some of the hanging pots that were planted in the spring.

Some of my annuals and even the perennial plants at home have been damaged because of the extreme heat.

Can you believe August is considered the best time to dig and divide perennial flowers?

This heat with little rain makes it unbearable to work in the garden. The only suggestion I have received is work early in the morning or late in the evening on my flowers.

So basically it’s up to individuals to choose the best time for them. It is what it is – but it’s time to get started!

Get started by having a good clear-out of your garden. The best time to weed is right after a rain when the soil is still moist. If rainfall is scarce, as it has been in our area, irrigate the garden thoroughly the night before. Pull weeds by hand or use a hoe. Just be sure to remove the roots.

Some annual flowers might look a bit worn out, so give your pots and planters a makeover by tucking in fresh, ready-to-bloom cool-season annual flowers that will keep the color show going through the fall.

Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flower heads from the plants. Deadheading will encourage more flowers to grow and make your garden prettier and more colorful. It keeps plants looking tidy and prevents diseases in certain plants, such as roses. Deadheading also prolongs the life of summer-blooming annuals.

Late summer is a perfect time to plant perennials and flowering shrubs. Some suggestions include hydrangeas, daylilies, lilies, sedums, ornamental grasses, peonies and bearded iris. Just be sure to water plants if the weather is hot and dry.

Mulching the beds also helps preserve soil moisture.
Add color with chrysanthemums, which are available in various colors, shapes and flower forms and go well with any garden decor. They are sold in bud or bloom and add instant impact to pots, planters or flower borders.

Hint, hint: The garden club starts taking orders for its annual mum sell fundraiser in late August.

Gardeners should stop feeding roses, trees, shrubs and perennial flowers now. Feeding your plants in the late summer and fall encourages new growth that probably won’t survive the winter. By putting your plants on a diet now, they’ll toughen up before freezing temperatures hit.

Keep evergreen trees and shrubs hydrated. If you start watering evergreens now, they will have plenty of soil moisture around their roots before freezing temperatures make irrigation impossible. Newly-planted evergreens are particularly susceptible to dry soil, so make sure they get at least an inch of water a week.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated as you work on your flowers in this heat!