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 first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.

~Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

My family always planned to have vacations during the first week of August because it was the warmest. It was also somewhat like the last fling of summer before settling down to fall business - school starting and the return of regular  routines.

I believe that in many ways, my ornamental garden is at its best in August. So many things are blooming; the leaves are bigger; the vines are twirling; the colors are brighter. It appears that there's more energy and enthusiasm displayed now. After all, summer is but a short affair.

I have a long-standing love affair with . My Zahara zinnias are putting on a show and they won't stop until frost.

love picking the large dahlia flowering zinnias for floral arrangements

and I adore some of the odd-colored zinnias.

The annual Rudbeckia, surprised me by reappearing in my garden is several spots. What a fabulous bloomer! Here's a photo of it in the garden near the street  It can be seen from blocks away. It contrasts nicely with some of the dark-leafed cannas nearby. It's one of the "wow" combinations in my garden right now. 

When the Gaura, Rosy Jane arrived from Burpee in the spring, it already had a few blooms and it hasn't stopped blooming yet. It's located on the edge of a paved driveway in full sun - a tough location for any plant - hot and dry. The long flower stems always seem to be swaying in the wind like whirling butterflies, one of its common names.  

And, finally I'd like to show you a container I saw hanging on the side of a hardware store. It gives a new meaning to the terms, "reuse, recycle, repurpose." Where's my old watering can?




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Frequent foot traffic wears turf away because it compacts the soil, depriving grass roots of oxygen. There are two ways to reduce soil compaction. The liquid way is to spray a product containing humic acid on worn spots a couple of times a year. Humic acid loosens and conditions packed soil, especially clay. The mechanical way is to use a spiking tool to punch holes in the compacted area to allow oxygen to enter the soil.