Most perennials thrive if they are divided every three years or so. Oriental Poppies and
Daylilies are no exception to this practice, and now is the time of year to divide them.
If you don't divide them, the clumps become thick and the roots get matted together.
Their blooms may also become small and sparse.
You should first dig up the entire clump, which can be done easily by getting a garden
fork or spade underneath the root ball and pushing it up without breaking too many of
the main roots. Inspect the root mass to see where they can be split apart. If the center
has died out, remove all dead roots and clip back any that are damaged.
One way to split apart daylily clumps is by putting two garden forks, back to back, in
the center of the root clump and pushing them apart by force. Another method is to use
your spade and just cut it in half or quarters, depending on the size of the clump.
Before replanting any of your new divisions, why not add some well rotted compost,
bonemeal or a commercial fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, for good root development.
August is a good month to take stem cuttings from your favorite geraniums growing in the
garden. They will root quickly and form nice size plants by early December.
Take your cuttings from strong, straight stalks, preferably those without flowers. Your
cuttings should be about 4 inches long and taken from the plant by slicing across the
stem near a node, with a sharp knife. Trim off the lower leaves so they don't rot
and cause rooting problems.
Geraniums root best in clean, sharp sand. Place one cutting in each small pot, or for
many, you can use flats. Insert the cutting into the sand by making a hole with a pencil.
Tuck the cutting in tightly with the pencil and water thoroughly to wash the sand particles
around the cutting stem.
When your cuttings have rooted, they can be planted in a regular soil mixture.
LATE SUMMER PESTS
Keep an eye on your Azaleas, Laurels, and
Rhododendrons for lace bug activities. They can ruin your broadleaved evergreens by
feeding on the undersides of leaves and stain them with molasses-like excrement. The
surfaces of the leaves turn yellow, sometimes gray. There can be as many as 4 or 5
generations of lace bugs in a summer. Spray as needed.
Gardeners are often unaware of Mites until the damage has been done. They feed on
the succulent leaves of yew, arborvitae, juniper, boxwood, hemlock, and spruce, causing
the leaves or needles to yellow and drop off. Mites are very small and difficult to see;
to detect their presence, hold a piece of white paper under a twig or branch. Tap the
branch lightly and if the mites are feeding, they will drop onto the paper. Control with
any of the miticides available.
There are several ways you can dry your summer flowers for bright bouquets indoors this
winter. The first method is by hanging them. Blooms are cut when partially to two-thirds
open and hung on a line in a cool, dry place to dry. Baby's breath, globe thistle,
joe-pye weed, strawflowers and yarrow can be dried by this method.
The second method is to pack them in a borax mixture: 2 parts of borax to 10 parts of
white cornmeal. Many petaled flowers must be packed in something that supports and
separates the petals. Place a thin layer of your borax mixture in the bottom of a large
box. Remove the foliage from the stems and place the flowers gently on top of mixture,
either face-up or face-down. Carefully pour the mixture in and around the petals until
they are completely covered. When the petals are stiff and crisp (about 3 weeks),
they can be removed.
The third method is very similar to the second, only you will use silica-gel instead of
the borax mixture. The flowers are packed the same way, except you will want to use tins
instead of boxes. Once silica-gel has been used, it can be reused several times. This
method is used for many petaled flowers such as: roses, marigolds, zinnias, calendulas
To Do List
- August -
- Don't push yourself gardening these hot August days...save some enthusiasm for next month
- Keep an eye on your roses for Black Spot and Yellow Leaf. Pick and burn all affected leaves
- Be sure and dead-head your annuals (geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, marigolds etc.) to prolong their blooming
- Divide your Oriental Poppies, Daylilies, and Iris
- Cut out any Raspberry or Blackberry canes that have fruited this season
- Bleeding-Hearts, Doronicums and Lupines can be transplanted this month
- Check your Azaleas, Laurel, and Rhododendrons for lace wing-fly (lace bugs)
- Take cuttings of geraniums, coleus, and impatience
- Stop feeding your roses now so that they don't make too much tender growth before frost
- Use Sevin to control Japanese beetles on your roses, fruit trees and shrubs
- Transplant lilies only after the foliage has died down
- Plant seeds of pansies, forget-me-nots and English daisies now for next spring's flowering
- During the hot days of summer, don't cut the lawn too short
- Gather up and burn any diseased hollyhock leaves
- Plant your Autumn Crocus bulbs towards the end of the month or as soon as they arrive
- Round out the month by giving your evergreen hedges their last shearing of the season