In my last column, I wrote about August as the perfect time to assess your garden, eliminate plants that did not perform well this season and determine what new plants you might choose to fill in the “holes” in your garden beds.
After assessing my own garden, I have decided to completely eliminate the last small bit of lawn and to plant more hardy salvias, hardy hibiscus and a new crepe myrtle to fill in my garden “holes". My front lawn will now become a fieldstone-and-pea-gravel courtyard with enlarged side garden beds and a central circular garden bed.
I have fallen in love with a large cast concrete ornamental urn that will become a focal point of the central bed. And I was able to capitalize on one of the gardener’s most sought after opportunities — the end of season garden sale. My large urn was fifty percent off the original price — that is a huge savings considering the cost of good ornamental urns these days.
August is a bargain hunter's dream month for plant material and hardscape elements. In most of the garden centers and nurseries in this area, perennials are available for 50 percent off seasonal prices; trees and shrubs are discounted 20 percent to 30 percent; and cast iron, concrete and ceramic planters and urns are all drastically reduced during August.
If you are looking for spring blooming shrubs, azaleas are available at reduced prices at all the local garden centers and nurseries. If you want shrubs with fall foliar or bloom color, choose blue beard (caryopteris), summersweet (clethra), fothergilla, virginia sweetspire (itea virginica) or oakleaf hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia).
This reduction in prices comes at just the right time for good gardening practices — cooler temperatures combined with greater likelihood of rain make this the perfect time to resume planting shrubs, trees and perennials. Plants will have an opportunity to develop their root systems and establish themselves in the garden before the first frost.
The following links will provide you with information on sales at many of our local nurseries. You can log on to their websites and sign up for email notices of specials and sales:
Holly Woods and Vines (south of Old Town on Route 1) has daily sales as well as monthly sales. This month all trees and shrubs are 25 percent reduced, fruit trees are 50 percent reduced and quart-size pots of perennials are 50% percent off. This Thursday, Aug. 23, the daily special sale involves all ceramic pots. They will be reduced by 50 percent.
Hybla Valley Nursery (Beacon Hill Road in Hybla Valley) is offering a discount on the purchase of any tree this month.
Cravens Nursery & Pottery (Arlington Boulevard in Fairfax) is offering a 50 to 65 percent reduction on all ceramic pots, 25 percent reduction on spring blooming shrubs and 30 percent reduction on maple trees.
Campbell and Ferrara (on Little River Turnpike in Annandale) is offering 50 to 75 percent reductions on perennials, 50 percent on deciduous shrubs and fruit trees, 25 percent on azaleas and reductions of between 30 to 50 percent on pots, bird baths and fountains.
Merrifield Garden Center (locations at Merrifield, Fair Oaks and Gainesville) has a number of plants on sale, and they are offering a discount coupon on the website this week.
Meadows Farms (in Annandale, Chantilly and Woodbridge) is offering a discount of 25 to 30 percent on trees and shrubs.
My advice is to head for your local garden center and take advantage of the August reduction in prices to augment your gardens. The forecast for the rest of this month is for lower temperatures, and it has finally begun to feel like gardening weather.
Eleni Silverman is a Master Gardener, Vice President of the Belle Haven Garden Club, Chair of the Landscape Committee at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and author of the garden blog "Belle Haven Garden Maven." She is sole proprietor of The Well Tended Garden, providing garden grooming, coaching and design. She admits to a fascination with all things gardening, believes even compost is engaging, and will eagerly discuss the relative merits of leaf mold versus hardwood mulch.