August - What's in Lisa's Garden?


Lisa Colburn


In My Garden (Zone 3-4)

Lisa Colburn
Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook and author of The Maine Garden Journal.



The brilliant poppy flaunts her head Amidst the ripening grain, And adds her voice to sell the song That August's here again.

-Helen Winslow

August has always been my favorite month. It's warm and the garden is lush. I feel a sense of satisfaction that all I've done this garden season is finally paying off. The months of diligence in preparing the soil, fertilizing, adding compost, carefully planting and weeding has been worth it. Now, I'm reaping the rewards of being a gardener. I walk through my yard with pride. To be sure, there are a few things here and there that didn't perform as I'd hoped but on the whole, I'm absolutely delighted.

We've been picking raspberries and blueberries for weeks. Organically grown fruit from our garden has been topping our cereal every morning. We freeze the extra pickings so we'll continue to eat our own home-grown produce most of the year supplemented only occasionally with store-bought fruit.  



We refer to our raspberries as "jewels from the garden." And, we feel so fortunate to know exactly what we're eating. We aren't consuming pesticide residues or preservatives meant to extend shelf life. We're eating pure food.

Last winter was one of the coldest, snowiest ever in Maine and one would think that many plants in a Zone 3-4 garden would have suffered. Snow, however, insulates the soil and many plants benefited. My clematis are having one of the best summers ever. This Jackmanii clematis has more flowers than I've ever seen on it. It's growing on the back corner of my house, hidden from the street. I almost want to grab people walking by and show them this treasure in the back yard.


Interestingly, another Jackmanii clematis that has been growing through my wisteria arbor for several years is putting on a competing floral display.


I've been very impressed by the performance of a small, multi-colored zinnia called Dancing Girls. It has been blooming non-stop since I planted it the first week of June despite the fact that it's planted in a tough environment - near the street - hot, wind-blown and dry; in soil that's sprinkled with road salt all winter long. I bet it would be a great plant near salt-water beaches too.  

Zinnia, Dancing Girls

I will continue to savor warm August days in my garden. It's what passionate gardeners have been waiting for all year long.




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Don’t ignore garden debris that can harbor insects and diseases to attack next year’s garden. Collect leaves, sticks and plant stems and run them through a shredder before adding to the compost pile. If the pile heats up well (to about 170 degrees), most insects, weed seed and diseases should be destroyed. If you don't compost, use the debris as mulch on unrelated plants. For example, don't put tomato debris where tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes will be planted next spring. For that matter, use all vegetable waste to mulch bushes, trees and perennials. Simply rake plant debris into rows and run a mulching lawn mower over it several times before spreading.