August can be a slow time in many Connecticut gardens. If you’ve planned properly, you’re enjoying some color from such as Buddleia (butterfly bush) and Clethra (summersweet). And from that shine in the August garden, like Helenium (sneezeweed) and Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan).
But let’s face it during August our gardens really don’t need us too much. Yes, they appreciate some supplemental and deadheading, but that’s about it. Most plants are just trying to make it through the final days of summer heat and into the cooler days of September. The less we fuss around in the garden this month, the better. Resist the urge to prune, plant, transplant or divide. Give yourself, and your garden, a little vacation from each other.
So what’s an eager gardener to do during August? How about reading a few good books that will inspire you? These books will get you ready for the busy fall gardening season ahead.
Private Gardens of Connecticut by Jane Garmey is chock full of inspiration. Profiling almost 30 distinctive private gardens in Connecticut, many of them never showcased in a book before, Private Gardens of Connecticut is a book to read now and then leave on the coffee table and marvel at throughout the year. It’s especially motivating to see everyday gardens designed with plants suited to our local growing conditions, showcased in a way that makes them easily adaptable for most home gardens. (You can read a longer review of Private Gardens of Connecticut here.)
New England Gardener’s Resource: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant and Maintain a New England Garden, by Liz Ball and Jim Fizzell, is more of a nuts and bolts how-to book for local gardeners, particularly newbies. The authors discuss the subtleties of gardening in our climate that can take years to figure out. With over three hundred different plants profiled and a monthly calendar of garden chores, many gardeners will find this book has much to offer. (Here’s a more in-depth review of New England Gardener’s Resource).
In a few short months, once the temperatures drop and the ground finally cools, it will be time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinth. Bulb by Anna Parvod is a treasure trove of information on almost 600 different bulbs—from Acis to Zigadenus. Granted, not all of the bulbs highlighted in this book will grow here in Connecticut but if you’re looking to add a little more spice to your spring garden, Bulb offers up loads of inspiration and options. (Here’s a full review of Bulb if you’d like to find out more.)