An Alameda Garden: More August Crap

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More August Crap

Hanna of This Garden Is Illegal recently posted that her garden "looks like August crap." Well, to that I say, "mine too!" and thank goodness for the honesty of garden bloggers.

Hanna attributes her current situation to the effects of the summer heat and lack of planning. Both those phenomena have contributed to my garden's lackluster state. But I have to admit to a third category as well: gardener errors. In fact, I seem to spend a lot of my gardening time wondering what bonehead thing I'm going to do next.

One case in point is the sweet peas. I planted them late (error #1), I didn't pinch them back (just learned about doing this on a gardening show this morning--error #2), I let them get overwhelmed first by volunteer tomato seedlings and later by poppies (error #3), and I didn't act when I noticed that they were getting hit by powdery mildew (possibly due to being up against a stucco-covered wall that held on to the moisture--error #4). The result was this:

I had hoped this entire wall would be covered with sweet peas, but the results have been a few scraggily vines and less than a dozen blooms so far. I'll be ripping them out soon. I may try to grow a late crop of haricot verts in their place, although I may find that they will have all the same problems.

There are more problem spots I could show, and I will, but not today. It's too depressing. There are a few successes as well. The passion flower vine is now healthy and full and steadily putting out a couple new blooms every day. The salvia is growing like crazy (actually, it's taking over the strawberry bed) and it's attracting hummingbirds. The roses are blooming, not exactly abundantly, but better than in past years. The clematis is done blooming now but it was spectacular and I look forward to more of the same in future years.

Hanna listed three things she was going to do to try to correct her August garden situation in the future: 1) cruise the neighborhood to see what's blooming in the area and include those plants in her garden, 2) plant more annuals, and 3) incorporate more colorful foliage. Those are all good ideas and I'm going to try to follow her lead. But I also have to remind myself that I am planting more perennials in my garden each year, and that each year things will grow more established, more colorful, and eventually more lush.


  1. I read that post too, and was relieved by the admssion that by August the garden is looking frayed around the edges.
    My borders have wilted in the heat, and now gone over to seed pod making.
    I guess i need plants that last untill the frosts.We cant control the weather.Thats the fun of gardening.Just remember to look at the GOOD things like your passion flower.

  2. I was thinking, if you haven't planted this spot with the haricot, perhaps you can plant sugar snap peas or sweet peas. I plant them in my area about now and in October (with bush sweet peas from Renee's Seeds into containers). They weather through our winters just fine, and burst forth first thing in Feb.

  3. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Next time lean chicken wire against the wall, sweet peas need more of a grid to climb on and are not happy unless they climb (at least the climbing types.)


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