September 14th, 8 am
Curious about which plants are appropriate for pots and containers? Join us for this presentation to learn how to garden in small spaces!
For more information on this event and others, visit the Events Calendar.
|The mission of the Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is to educate the community through fellowship and demonstration using research-based gardening information.|
August Flower of the Month
This evergreen shrub is like a classic Southern lady—both sweet and tough. Its flowers are incredibly fragrant, and the plant itself is easy to take care of. Gardeners can think of it as a miniature Southern magnolia whose flowers smell like bananas instead of lemons.
Magnolia figo syn. Michelia figo
Cream-colored, one-inch flowers which bloomheavily in the spring, sporadically thru the summer
Plant type: Evergreen shrub
USDA Zones: 7-10
Useful evergreen shrub or small tree, compact dark green foliage, drought tolerant, low insect interest.
Part sun to shade
Things To Do in the Garden This Month
Keep an eye on lawns to spot problems early and treat accordingly. Insects, such as chinch bugs, and fungi, such as grey leaf spot, are two things to watch out for.
Hummingbirds are here!! Migrating hummingbirds can be found at your feeders and natural nectar sources. Keeping feeders clean, filled and in a shady area will encourage visitors. Natural nectar sources for hummingbirds include Turk’s cap, Hamelia, Shrimp plant, Firespike, Salvia, Lobelia (cardinal flower), Pride of Barbados, Anisacanthus, and Cigar plants. These are all hummer magnets.
Seeds to plant now include cucumbers, calendula, snapdragon and alyssum. Plan for the fall vegetable garden and choose seeds for planting next month.
For preparing fall gardens, top dress with 2-4” of organic matter. A layer of pine straw will keep weeds at bay until seeds or transplants have been placed.
Plant transplants for tomatoes and peppers now. Keep young plants protected from intense midday heat by placing cages over plants and clothes pinning newspaper or cardboard at the second rung level. This temporary shade device can be removed once plants reach height of the cardboard; then they will be established.
Use seaweed spray such as Microlife Seaweed to boost the immune system of plants. A healthy plant is more resistant to insect infestations and fungal problems. A spraying every two weeks that covers the entire surface of all leaves will do the job.
Continue slow, deep watering to encourage proper root growth and prevent runoff. Watering longer and less often encourages deep root growth and healthier plants. Soaker hoses or a regular hose turned on to a slow drip are good ways to do this.
Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulching keeps plant roots cooler and weed seeds at bay. Apply 3” deep around trees and shrubs. Add compost around annuals, herbs, and vegetables. Remember: Never pile mulch against the base of a plant.
August Critter of the Month
Zipper Spiders are also known as Yellow Garden Spiders. These
spiders can be quite large, with females growing up to 30 mm (1 1/8 inch). Males are much smaller. The abdomen of these spiders is black and bright yellow in color, and these spiders are covered in silver hairs. The Zipper Spider is extremely beneficial in the garden as a hungry insect predator.
These black and yellow garden spiders and other types of orb weavers are generally harmless but can be a nuisance when they build their large webs in places inconvenient to humans. They are beneficial to our environment and quite attractive unless the mere sight of a spider triggers a case of arachnophobia!
Common Name: Black and yellow argiope
Genus/Species: Argiope aurantia
Size: Largest size spider in Montgomery County. Females to 1 1/8 inches (19-30 mm). Males 1/4” to 3/8” inch (5-9 mm)
Web: Orb webs up to 2+ feet in diameter and very complicated
Type of Beneficial: Insect predator
Prey: Wide range of flying prey including flies, moths, beetles, wasps, mosquitoes
Step Into Our Gardens….
By Pat Sheridan, Master Gardener
A garden organized around a unifying theme is a theme garden. Ideas for theme gardens are limitless. There are Japanese gardens, butterfly gardens, rose gardens, and vegetable gardens, to name just a few. Here at the AgriLife Extension, we have several examples of theme gardens: the children’s discovery garden, the square foot garden, the fairy garden, and the culinary herb garden, and more.
Checkout the Shakespeare Garden…
Within the Herb Area lies the Shakespeare Garden:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows…” A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance…” Ophelia
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…” Romeo and Juliet
Did you know that herbs and other plants were frequently mentioned in the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare? It seems that he was very knowledgeable of the characteristics and uses of many plants. In his day (the 1600s), plants had symbolic significance. Every mention is thought to be important to the story. His writings speak about more than 30 different herbs and flowers and the settings were sometimes in gardens.
Our Shakespeare garden features bronze fennel, creeping thyme, chamomile, yarrow, rosemary, bay laurel, tansy, rue, the red rose, but plants may vary with the season and weather conditions. We even have a bust of old Will himself to watch over the plants in his garden.
Some well- known public gardens in America that contain areas dedicated to Shakespeare are located in Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and on the Folger Shakespeare Library grounds, Washington, D.C. Closer to home, Festival Hill and Mercer Botanical Gardens are worth a visit.