Gardening Tips_5 Things To DoIn Your-3

Gardening Tips: Five Things to Do In Your Garden in August

It’s hard to believe that August is upon us this weekend!! With all the heavy work in the garden over and harvesting beginning, one would think you could sit back and relax. But there’s always something to do. Here’s my gardening tips for August:

Gardening Tip 1 – Fertilize Your Roses:

roses in the garden new house new home

Constance Spry climbing rose

Roses are heavy feeders and right now is the optimum time to fertilize them before the fall. Use an organic fertilizer such as alfalfa meal which is usually available where organic fertilizers are sold. Doing this now will ensure that the new growth will go into the cooler weather strong and healthy.

Gardening Tip 2 – Take Root Cuttings of Geraniums:

root cutting geranium


Your geraniums are probably looking a little leggy right now and are due for a haircut. While you’re at it, keep some of the top shoots and set them into small pots to grow inside during the winter. This way you will have “mother plants” for next year which will be bigger and heartier than the nursery varieties. This is especially good to do for  “Martha Washington” or fragrant geraniums.

Strip the leaves form a six inch cutting and dip into root hormone. Plant up in small pots and place inside once the weather cools. For a full tutorial, visit Growing With Plants.

Gardening Tip 3 – Divide Oriental Poppies:


oriental poppy salmonNow is the time to divide your poppies. Once they finish blooming, they go into a quasi-dormancy. Divide them as you would any perennial by lifting the entire plant out and splitting the root ball with a knife or spade. By doing this now, your poppies will have a chance to settle back in before the cooler weather. It’s a win/win – the plant will be happier and you will have new plants to use in the garden.

By the way if you haven’t divided your irises, this is a good time too.

Gardening Tip 4 – Prune Trees & Shrubs:

Don’t wait too much longer to prune your trees and shrubs. Most of the flowering shrubs will  have finished blooming by now, so it’s a good time to get rid of any crossed branches, weak growth or water sprouts.


The diagram above shows water sprout growth on an existing branch or around the base of your shrub. My magnolia tree always gets a lot of water sprouts, so I trim them off every August. At first I thought they were good growth. But they won’t bloom and just suck water from the root system.

This is also the time to do one final trimming of any evergreen shrubs and trees.

Gardening Tip 6 – Order Spring Bulbs:

birdbath garden springbirdbath garden springmuscari

I know, I know….it’s hot and humid and the last thing you want to think about it next spring!! But ordering your bulbs now ensures that you’ll get the best selection and prices. Some of my favourite places to order bulbs are Breck’s , White Flower Farm or Vesey’s. Order them now and these companies will deliver when it’s the right time to plant in your area (late September-October for me).

Bonus Tip: Plant Seeds for Fall Crops:

lettuce garden


You can extend the season in your vegetable garden by planting some seeds right now. It’s not too late to enjoy fresh lettuce, spinach, beets and carrots right through till the frost hits. Plants like lettuce and beets actually prefer the cooler temperatures. It just cheers me up to see new growth as the evenings start to get cooler.

So the main growing season may be over in most parts of the country and your plants are sitting back and enjoying the warm sun of August. But there’s still some things to keep us busy in the garden (besides the never ending task of weeding).

The Garden Charmers Best Before/After Projects

You know how busy those gardening buddies of mine are. The Garden Charmers always seem to be doing some transformation or other in their gardens. So I asked them to show us their favourites.


PicMonkey CollageBut first here’s mine…..

What started out as a patch of neglected grass is now a lush vegetable garden – sometimes a bit too lush as I try to keep up with the ripening produce. Here’s how it all started:

vegetable garden

First we brought in 6 yards of top soil. In retrospect, this was a bit of a mistake as the top soil in these parts is comprised mostly of sand. So it had to be amended by adding a ton of compost and triple mix over the last couple of seasons.

raised garden bed

And then we built the raised bed – you can see how we did this here

vegetable garden with old fence

and bordered it with some of the old fence from the perennial border. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about this idea at first. I thought it would cut the yard up too much. But now it’s one of my favourite features.

arbour and path

Finally we added the arbour and path made from pallets. This 20′ x 20′ patch of vegetable heaven is where you’ll find me most evenings…weeding, pruning and harvesting.

before/after vegetable garden

Now let’s see what The Garden Charmers have been up to in their gardens….

Empress of Dirt’s Shed Makeover


Melissa always puts an artistic touch to her garden and her shed project is another example of the endless ideas she comes up with.

Drought Smart Plants’ Satellite Dish Garden



Jacki seems to be able to turn anything into a planter. Who would have thought that a discarded satellite dish could be turned into something fantastic like this planter.

Garden Therapy’s Patio Project



Wow!!! That’s all I can save about Stephanie’s patio transformation.

Magic Touch & Her Gardens Before/After

rain garden 2012


Give Judy a patch of grass and she’ll turn it into a fabulous garden like this one.

My Soulful Home’s Sectional Sofa



Kelly amazes me – she has such vision. I would never have thought of turning an old leather sectional into a gorgeous outdoor sofa.

The Gardening Cook’s Vegetable Garden Makeover


Of course, Carole (The Gardening Cook) is all about the vegetable garden. Look at this transformation!

Our Fairfield Home and Garden’s Shutter Transformation


And I have no idea where Barb came up with this idea. You have got to check out what she did with these 32 – yes 32 – shutters.

If you like what you’ve seen here from The Garden Charmers, be sure to check out our Facebook page: The Garden Charmers

From the Garden Recipes: Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

It’s harvesting time in our garden which means that most nights I’m using recipes from the garden. I’ve never had any success with peppers before. So when I planted the “El Jefe” peppers this spring, I crossed my fingers. Well, we’ve been eating them for a week or so now – on nachos, in enchiladas,  in omelettes and just about anything else I can think of.  There was still more though.

recipes pickled jalapeño peppers


When I grew up, my mother didn’t can or pickle anything. How could she with six kids in an apartment? So this whole canning/pickling thing is fairly new to me. But hey, I made dill pickles a couple years ago without poisoning anyone. How hard could jalapeño peppers be?

pickled jalapeño peppers

Quite simple really. The biggest challenge was not getting peppers in my eyes. I remember using hot peppers in another recipe and then inadvertently touching my face – ouch!

So the first thing (and most important thing) is to wear gloves – I like the Disposable Latex Gloves that the nurses and doctors wear. (this is an Amazon affiliate product. By purchasing this product, I will be compensated)processor jalapeño peppers

To make the job quicker and reduce the chance of stinging yourself with pepper juices, use a slicing blade on your food processor. You could chop them all by hand, but this is definitely a time saver.

jalapeños pickled

Here’s my Fresh from the Garden recipe:

1 lb jalapeno peppers
2 c. white vinegar 
2 c. water
2 Tbsp pickling salt (4 Tbsp kosher salt)
2 cloves garlic 
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns 
1 Tbsp honey 

Prepare the jars and lids:
Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars in gently, tilting them to fill with the hot water. In a small saucepan, keep some water warm but not boiling; place the lids in the water. Have an additional kettle of water on to boil.

Prepare the brine:

Add vinegar, water, salt and garlic and peppercorns or honey (if using) to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to keep at a simmer.

Prepare the jalapenos:

Wearing latex or plastic gloves, slice the jalapenos into 1/4-inch rings. Add the rings to the brine and bring back to the boil.

Fill and close the jars:

Using canning tongs, remove the jars from the canner, carefully pouring the water back into the canner. Set next to the jalapenos in the saucepan. Turn the heat under the canner to high. Use a ladle to pour the jalapenos into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.

Seal the jars:

Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner, taking care to keep them vertical. When all the jars are in the canner, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 5 minutes.

Remove and cool:

Using canning tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately.

Label and store:

Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

This recipe was originally found on However I made a couple of changes by adding the garlic and honey.