Black Mountain Beautification Committee

The dog days of summer are upon us and even here in the

temperate climate of Black Mountain, those with green

thumbs are not recommending the planting of new

perennials or annuals at this time. Ancient cultures believed

that the alignment of Sirius, the Dog Star, with the sun during

the summer caused the excessive heat at the end of summer.

Others say dog days are so named because the summer

heat causes even the dogs to just lie around.

Yes, the crop farmers in plant hardiness zone 6b and 7a

(which includes western North Carolina) are now preparing

to plant lettuces, greens, beans, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Those of us who are more gardeners than farmers are using this time to sip tea and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

During July, while there was still time to plant, I was purchasing last minute plant material for the new containers in town. Bruce Appeldoorn, of Appeldoorn Nursery and a vendor at the annual Black Mountain Garden Show, off-handedly gave words of wisdom for these last days of summer. “August is a good time to do plotting for planning.”

Don’t be afraid to think (just think) about moving small shrubs, conifers and even dividing some of the plants in your garden. A noted landscape architect, author of books and articles on gardening, and a friend of mine in Atlanta, Edith Henderson once told me that plants need to be moved. To think that a plant once planted cannot be transplanted is folly and is often a disservice to the plant.

Now is not the time to transplant; now is the time to wander with your feet, eyes, notebook, and camera in your garden. Here are some tips for plotting for planning:

  • Are the Echinacea and Shasta Daisies exceeding their boundaries? Are hostas, daylilies and irises nudging out their neighbors? They will be oh so much happier when dug in late September and October, divided, and then transplanted.
  • Record in your notebook or take pictures of plants that need to be moved in the fall.
  • Place orders for bulbs. Store in the refrigerator until it is time to plant them in the fall.
  • Continue weeding – in the cool of the morning. It’s not fun but it reduces the competition for water and nutrients.
  • Fertilize re-blooming roses for a late season boost.

To get the most out of your garden time and to obtain the truly valuable skills of gardening, it is always best to remember the 4-H Club motto: Learn by Doing.

Remember, there is no absolute right or wrong answer in gardening. Learn by doing, reading, researching, digging in the dirt, and creating your own masterpiece. Happy Gardening.

Bio:  Libba Fairleigh professes to have none of the talent that most volunteers with the Black Mountain Beautification Committee have, except organizing.  An active committee member and office holder for many years, she enjoys coordinating the annual spring Black Mountain Garden Show and working with the new plant containers in town.

Plotting for Planning