August 25th, 2016

A Job for August: Changes in Landscape

Late summer is the ideal time to start thinking about changes you’d like to make in your landscape this fall.

We are at that in-between stage in the gardening year called August. Summer’s not quite over and autumn, the great season for gardening, is still weeks away. It’s the best time for contemplation, which takes only mental energy and should not make you sweat. This time of year is perfect because the soil and air get cooler, which allows roots to grow and develop. Pixabay - Gardening

Preparing for this work requires evaluating what you possess already. But beyond that comes the idea of whether you actually like something, either individually or as a group.

You should find beauty in your trees and shrubs, even if they are there to serve a function, such as creating a screen or defining a boundary. Flaws, too, may be evident when you take a close look. It could be such things as an overgrown shrub whose height and width take more space than you like, perhaps encroaching into a driveway or sidewalk. You remedy such problems by pruning every year or two. But is the plant’s appearance worth the trouble? Could it be replaced with something that will be the right size at maturity and produce beautiful flowers and foliage? Or, perhaps you have plants that bore you in every season and are no longer interesting. Many fine ornamentals offer year-round beauty from their seasonal flowers, their beautiful foliage or their great structure and shape. These are the real keepers and you know them when you see them because they appeal to the eye.

Vast numbers of interesting shrubs and trees are in the garden centers that will liven up the landscape. That means camellias, chosen for a long season of bloom through the winter and well into spring. And Japanese maples, for example, come in a wealth of textures, sizes and leaf color.

So, you look for the uninteresting, the overgrown and out of shape that await replacement and even the vacant spot awaiting a new resident. This is contemplation that requires thinking and study. And that’s a job for the heat of August. But fear-not Fall lovers! Autumn is right around the corner!

Adapted from The Charlotte Observer’s article: