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Master Gardener: August gardening notes

Who would have guessed that we’d be this green the first week of August, 2014? I admit it’s nice not to be under a burn ban or some type of water conservation for the first summer in many years.

Where were the honey bees this summer? Surely not at my house. I am not even aware of who has hives in my area. Saw an interesting segment on PBS Saturday concerning an alternative pollinator I just may use in the garden next year. That or may need to get my paint brush out and start manually pollinating. Who has time for that?

We’ve had no trouble keeping green lawns this summer either. I’m mowing every five days. Keep those blades sharp- sharpening twice in a mowing season isn’t a bad idea. Mowing regularly encourages regrowth of desired grass which crowds out opportunistic weeds.

Our temperatures are flirting toward 100 degrees- when applying pesticides you will do your plants more harm than good if you exceed temperature recommendations.

Replenish tired flowerbeds by pulling out the old and seeding in the new. Cosmos, zinnias, marigolds will all make a spectacular late summer show. Still other annuals like impatiens can be sheared back, fed with a time-release fertilizer product and you’ll see a new flush of greenery and blooms in a couple weeks.

People ask about pruning back - hedges or whatever - because of the explosion of growth we’ve had from all the rain. Most shrubs can be groomed with no problem.

Next year I will experiment with mixed flower beds - planting in edible herbs with my usual blooming flowers. Good visual impact and can graze while cleaning beds!

Roses will benefit from feeding of 5-10-10 fertilizer if you want the fall show of blooms at its best. Spot prune weak or wayward growth.

Things to plant late this month for the fall garden: turnips, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, spinach, English peas and garlic.

Crepe myrtles have produced a wonderful flower show this year. If yours are finished and the branches are bowing under the weight of the seed pods, clip the reachable branches so they reach upward again. (I certainly don’t relish being slapped in the face when backing out of the yard - window up!)

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