Tofino Gardening in August
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Alright so August is here, the sun is shining, I can smell the freshly
mowed lawn, the birds are chirping, the bees are a buzzing, the tomatoes
are getting plump, the raspberries and strawberries are ripening, nothing
is eating my lettuce but me, and as I lay in my hammock with a cool
drink, a Margarita I believe, with a slight breeze blowing to keep
off the mosquitoes, I realize I’m sooo dreaming, the sun so far
has beaten down and made everything crispy, there is no lawn to mow
it’s brown from the lack of water, the birds aren’t chirping,
that’s them crying for rain, the bees aren’t buzzing, that’s
the angry wasps attacking my hummingbirds for competing with them for
the sugar water, the raspberries, strawberries and lettuce are being
eaten by slugs and bugs and my margarita is a crystal light juice drink,
as I try to ward of dehydration. Ah such is life, but dreaming about
the perfect garden is allowed,
Sometimes we set our expectations to high. So my roses have a little
black spot, next time I’m going to interplant them in the garden
with other shrubs, and not have a dedicated rose garden, that way when
they are not perfect I will still have amazing blossoms, but the other
plants will detract from the spotty or lack of leaves, it doesn’t
mean I’ll stop maintaining them to keep them as healthy as possible,
just less aggravated at their short comings. Gardening is about challenges,
pushing the limits, experimentation, aggravation, frustration, sometimes
defeat, hopefully success, and finally relaxation, and August is the
perfect month for that, with little else to do but maintain and plan
for the fall.
August is generally the month you sort of get to take off from any
hard gardening, with the exception of watering, weeding, and some pruning,
it’s a snap. Keep dead heading roses to keep them in bloom longer,
especially rugosa’s, unless you want to grow them for their hips.
Here’s a sorry gardening joke:
When is the one time a woman never complains about having large hips?” Answer: “When
they are on her roses.”
Okay so maybe not so funny.
Trim back any spent blooms on flowering perennials, cut back any
shrubs that have finished blooming to encourage new growth. Stake Dahlias,
and any other tall plants, so that they do not break at their stems.
A lot of the perennials that were trimmed back in April-May, should
be putting on a second bloom now, and may also need staking, and a
dose of fertiliser. Roses that are finished blooming could benefit
from a good pruning back to encourage new and stronger growth before
winter sets in, and I’m not talking taking them down a little,
anything that’s too gangly should be pruned right back to within
8 - 12 inches of the ground.
With the arrival of fall fairly shortly, the fall blooming plants
will be showing up soon, So it’s time to start thinking about where
to plant those winter blooming pansies and violas, as well as the mums,
asters and ornamental kales. These plants should take away the winters
blahs we so often get around here, with a bright spot of colour in
the garden, and although so many other plants will still be in prime
shape, when these winter bloomers come in, not only do most bloom all
winter, they also provide the first bit of colour in the spring, when
the bulbs are finished flowering, but it’s still to early to
be planting out summer bedding plants.
By now, you should be harvesting your raspberries and strawberries,
as well as your herbs, and the tomatoes and squashes should be starting
to plump up quite nicely, Garlic is probably ready to be harvested
from last years planting, and early and mid potatoes are basically
ready to be harvested as well especially for nice new baby potatoes.
Enjoy August .
Trina Mattson owns and operates the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino gardenening tips for August 2004 by Tofino garden expert Trina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino for Tofino TIme magazine.