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Monthly Garden Gossip,

August, 2018

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama

Formosa Lily

Formosa Lily

A welcome sight in August and September, Formosa lilies are a late flowering summer perennial here in the south.  Often reaching 6 to 7 feet tall. In many areas of the south it is called August Lily.  Formosa lily is stoloniferious, which means that new plants spread out from the original.  At the top of their long stems appears one, two or a cluster of as many as ten white trumpet shaped flowers which cause the plant to be top heavy and frequently needs some staking to keep it up right. The fragrant flowers, which last for several days, give rise to a 3 celled capsule 3 to 4 inches long containing two rows of flat seeds.

Prune back annuals that are looking straggly so that they will re-bloom this fall. Fertilize lightly. Perennials such as coneflowers, phlox and salvia can be deadheaded now. Do not to prune your oak leaf,  French , serrata or lacecap hydrangeas or you will remove next year's bloom. Be careful not to prune any woody shrubs after August since the tender new growth may get nipped by an early frost.

For a flush of fall blooms on your roses, give them a little fertilizer and lots of water. Continue to tie up your climbing roses and prune any stray canes or dead ones. Haven't pruned back those roses that only bloom in the spring? August is last call for that project

Iris may be divided in August.  Before replanting, work plenty of organic matter into the beds.  Space rhizomes 12-24 inches apart and plant just at the soil's surface.  Bone meal can also be worked into the bed for a slow release fertilizer.  In clay soil the rhizome should be exposed.  In sandy soil the rhizome can be buried with a thin layer of soil. Tall bearded iris should be divided every 4 to 5 years in late summer. Dig and divide hosta and over-crowded daylilies now. Sow some zinnias and sunflowers now for fall color. They will have time to flower before we get a frost.


Now that most of the blueberry plants have finished fruiting it is a great time to prune any plants that were hard to pick because they were too tall, or some of your berries were lying on the ground because the branches were too close to the ground.  Prune out any dead branches and fertilize to promote some new growth for next year's crop.  In our blueberry planting we remove any shoots that are coming up 3 feet away from the main plant.

You may plant blueberries this time of year if you can give them at least weekly watering. The most ideal planting time is late fall and winter which allows for the greatest plant development during the first growing season. Blueberry plants are very sensitive to the use of the nitrate form of nitrogen.  Applying fertilizers such as sodium nitrate, calcium nitrate or ammonium nitrate can result in severe damage or death of the plants.  Always use ammonium forms of nitrogen such as urea, ammonium sulfate or ammonium phosphate and avoid any fertilizers that contain more than 10% nitrogen in nitrate form.


For newly planted blueberries a fertilizer such as Grower's Special (12-6-6) that contains slow release nitrogen and micronutrients is recommended. The only pruning needed initially is to reduce plant height at planting time by 1/4 to 1/3 usually 7 to 14 inches.  Remove broken roots and separate roots at 3 to 4 areas around root ball where they may be growing in a circular direction. Blueberry plants do not require annual pruning for the first several years except to remove low branches lower than 15 inches from the soil and diseased or broken branches

Attracting Butterflies

Would you like to attract more butterflies to your garden? You must provide host plants as well as nectar plants for them. Butterflies also like fruit and the fruit flies that the fruit attracts. Put out some slices of banana or watermelon and you will be amazed at all the butterflies it attracts. They will also eat the fruit flies for minerals and protein. Place some flat stones in your garden giving the butterflies a place to bask in the sun and rest. Butterflies also like to congregate on wet sand or mud to partake in 'puddling', drinking water and extracting minerals from the damp puddles. You can provide an area like this by placing a shallow pan filled with sand in your garden. Be sure to keep it damp.

Some of the host plants are Carrot, Dill, Fennel parsley, Milkweed, Aster, Sassafras, Spicebush, Poplar and Willow.

A few native nectar plants are Button Bush, Butterfly Weed, New England Aster, Blue Lobelia, Cardinal Flower, Joe Pye Weed an Prarie Blasing Star.

I have noticed a lot of butterflies on the zinnias in my yard also. A butterfly feeder is also a nice addition and an opportunity to view butterflies close up.



Join Paulette Ogard on August 4, as she delves into the world of Alabama butterflies. Check our Event Page for further details.

Butterflies of Alabama

Our retail shop is bursting with new items we purchased at the July market in Atlanta. Stop by for a look the next time you are at the nursery.

It is August and time to spray for Pecan Weevil

(Curculio caryae). Adult weevils, both males and females, damage pecans by feeding on and/or laying eggs in nuts. Even though damage can occur from the time of adult emergence to shuck split, the key to weevil control is to prevent the female fro laying eggs. 

Pecan weevil activity starts in early August. Adults emerge from the soil where they have spent 2 or 3 years in soil cells located 4 to 12 inches beneath the soil surface. The emergence of adult pecan weevil is directly related to the type of soil and soil moisture conditions. Drought conditions and clay soils delay emergence of adults by a month or more.  Under normal soil conditions, approximately 80 percent of adult weevils emerge between August 20 and September 10. Insecticides are carbaryl (Sevin® 80S) at a rate of 1.25 to 3.0 pounds per 100 gallons and zeta-cypermethrin (Fury®) at 2.82 to 4.26 ounces per acre. Do not use spreader stickers with the treatment. Other formulations of carbaryl also can be used. Read and follow label directions. There are no organic methods for treating pecan weevil at the present time.

Spray the tree trunk and as high as your sprayer will allow you to get and well as the ground around the tree to the drip line.  You should spray in the beginning of August and once again about three weeks later.

Fall Vegetable Garden

wiinter vegetable garden

It's time to start thinking about the fall garden.  You should be planting seeds for broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, as well as parsley. Divide multiplying and Egyptian Walking onions now so they well be ready for the table in November.  There is still enough time to plant another crop of zinnias and sunflowers for a little fall color.  Wait until the beginning of September to plant your lettuces.  Then you can either direct sow your seed right into the garden or buy plants. Our selection of lettuce plants is unsurpassed.  They should be available for sale about the middle of September.

It is often hard to find fall tomato plants but you can grow your own by just taking cuttings of your favorites and placing them in potting soil in the shade. Keep them moist and they will root in a couple of weeks. Plant in the garden for fall harvest and maybe some fried green tomatoes!


Have you ever thought about growing garlic? If you have now would the time to think about buying your garlic bulbs. The best garlic for our Alabama climate are the turbans. They find our climate a little bit like home since they were developed in South China and Southeast Asia. A few variety names are Chinese Purple', 'Lotus' and 'Thai Fire'. Garlic can be planted about mid October to mid November. You'll want to make sure to plant it in soil that is loose, moist and well drained. There is only one way to get that regardless of your soil. You should make sure there are quantities of organic matter. You should add enough lime or other calcium-containing materials to raise the soil pH to about 6 to 6.5. The garlic bulbs are divided into cloves and planted about 8-inches apart and about 2-inches deep. They grow over the winter and are harvested in about May. A whole years worth of garlic can be grown in a very small area.
Keep your hummingbird feeders clean by cleaning at least once a week. You can use white vinegar diluted in water or dish soap. Use a bottle brush to clean the bottle and clean all the ports with a port brush. Rinse thoroghly and allow to air dry. It is not necessary to use bleach unless you see black mold. If that is present soak the feeder in a 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air day. May hummingbird enthusiasts have two feeders one clean one and then the one they are using.
Remember to keep figs watered during our hot dry summer days.  Figs will drop their leaves and fruit to protect itself during a drought.  This month we are trimming out the low growth away from the base of the fig trees to allow for better air circulation. Pappa John Figs