My main garden task in July and August, besides weeding of new beds (established ones are too densely planted for weeds to take hold) is to plan for next year. I stroll around my gardens and ruminate. Here’s the list of chores and changes I’m working on:
— prune the ninebark shrubs in the front islands during the coming winter. I did this the winter before last, and the shrubs are once again quite crowded. This has led to an outbreak of powdery mildew, something I’ve never seen before on this species in my garden.
— as soon as the birds finish eating the grey dogwood berries, prune back these shrubs along the garage. And remember to do a post about this beautiful and underused species (Cornus sericea).
— and while I’m thinking about pruning, prune back some of the male spicebush shrubs along the driveway. And get pictures of the ripe berries before the birds snatch them, if possible. And once more, for another year, I missed the ripe hazelnuts. I just saw the shells on the ground after the squirrels devoured them. This year I did glimpse a squirrel swinging wildly on a slender stem as it ate the nuts. But the squirrel was gone before I could get a picture. How many pictures of empty shells do you really want to look at?
— divide almost every clump of little bluestem and, for the first time, give away divisions of this gorgeous grass. Most clumps are several feet wide and the grass is approaching 4 feet tall. Time to divide, spread it around, and go smaller.
— move that hidden phlox. I’ve finally figured out where to put it: in the middle of the bed of queen of the prairie that looks quite disgraceful this time of year. It goes dormant while the phlox is still going strong, and it should also protect the phlox from critters, because nothing seems to eat queen of the prairie. I’ll also put in some low-growing late bloomers and more grasses, and maybe next year I’ll be willing to show a picture of this area of the garden.
What are your plans for next year’s garden? This is the time to plan!