Tending the Garden – August 6, 2015

These Goldstrum Rudbeckias are still sensational after being in bloom for over a month.

These Goldstrum Rudbeckias are still sensational after being in bloom for over a month.

Finally, some rain! And, at my house it was a slow easy rain, just the type I needed to perk up my garden.
Before it came, I was able to put out one of my fall tomatoes that I potted several weeks ago. I have a couple more I hope to get tomorrow. I also took advantage of the cooler morning to pull many of the weeds that were easier to pull because of a light shower last night. This is a critical time to keep weeds out of your garden, because many are starting to set seeds. After you pull them, it’s a good idea to add mulch to the thin spots.
During the rain this morning, I decided to tour around a bit and see what has handled the high heat and low humidity over the last few days without showing stress. Number one was the Goldstrum Rudbeckia (also sometimes called coneflower and black-eyed susan). Every clump of this perennial looked good and was full of blooms. Lantana, which was out of bloom for the last few weeks, was starting to bloom again, except the gold selection which seems to bloom continuously. Also, the angelonia seems to be starting to bloom profusely again, after it seemed to be in a vegetative state since mid-July. The shade loving caladiums look good, if the dead leaves had been removed. Others that looked okay were marigold (especially the petite types), angel wing begonias (especially the red ones), and the annual vinca (also called Madagascar periwinkle).
During a visit to the big box store today, I found they were beginning to get in some of their fall perennials to plant. Frankly, I think it is too early. Plant around September 15, and you will be very happy with their look in the garden.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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