Get set to garden this August! I’ve just posted the August gardening task list to the Free Gardening Resources page. You can download and print it, or share it with your garden club members, under the Creative Commons license restrictions listed on the sheet.
August is a good time to start thinking ahead, and by that I mean way ahead…like next spring. Believe it or not, now is the time when you can find the best selection of spring flowering bulbs in the stores. It seems strange to be thinking about tulips, daffodils and crocus now, but the bulbs need a long period of cold in order to bloom successfully in the spring. Garden center retailers, like all retailers, like to get a head of the season a bit, and even though you can’t plant these bulbs until after Columbus Day around here and in most parts of the north, central and southeast, they are offered for sale at the stores and in catalogs now. Take advantage of the excellent selection on the shelves in August to acquire the colors and varieties you want for your garden. If you’re not fussy about the variety or color, then wait until later in the season when packages of bulbs are marked at substantial discounts. This usually happens here in south central Virginia by late September or early October. The big box stores get antsy about setting up for Christmas, and they want to clear the garden center or “seasonal” areas out to make room for the trees, decorations and lights. So they mark the fall bulbs down and you can fill your garden with spring flowering bulbs for pennies!
Yes, I remain the frugal gardener. I may plant a few hundred daffodils in the fruit tree orchard here each year, but I’m still frugal.
Speaking of daffodils and buying in bulk, if you need to fill a large area, daffodils are great for that job. They naturalize, meaning they spread out over time. They’re also deer resistant – another plus around here where the deer are frequent garden visitors. If you need to purchase bulbs in bulk, many wholesale growers will sell them to home owners as long as you’re willing to purchase them by the hundreds.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.