August Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
" A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors.   Henry David Thoreau, from Walden 
snapdragon cut flowers
Cut Flowers
Flowers brighten any garden and help attract pollinating insects. They can also brighten the indoors and are often grown for precisely that reason. To extend the life of cut flowers, make a fresh cut on the stems and quickly plunge them into water before the plant heals over the wound. A diagonal cut will give more surface area for absorbing water. Adding two tablespoons lemon juice, one tablespoon sugar, and a quarter teaspoon bleach to the water will help preserve the flowers by inhibiting bacterial growth.

Photo: Snapdragon cut flowers, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County
Caulifolower grown at Master Gardener winter vegetable trial
Starting Winter Vegetables
While deep in summer harvest, it’s hard to think about the next season. Yet late summer is the time to start cool season vegetables. You can start them in pots so that they aren’t taking space away from your current vegetables. By the time they are ready to transplant, you'll probably be sick of zucchini and can start removing summer plants. 

Photo: Cauliflower varieties grown at Master Gardener winter vegetable trial
Plant rust  fungus
Halting Diseases
Observation is an important part of gardening. You may notice some leaves with white or black powder or spots or see leaves and stems turning brown or yellow. If it is limited to a small area, you can take action before it spreads to other leaves or throughout the plant. Removing the sick plant material with its bacteria or fungal spores can be all that’s needed to stop the spread of the disease and save the plant.

Photo: Rust on leaf, UC Davis Good Live Garden
Brown rot apricot fruit mummy. photo by WW. Coates, UC Cooperative Extension
Fruit Mummies
Keep a close eye on ripening nectarines and peaches for signs of fungal diseases like brown rot. Entire fruits can shrivel up with visible spores on them. These are called fruit mummies and must be removed at the first sign of spores. This will help save future fruit. 

Photo: Brown rot apricot fruit mummy. WW. Coates, UC Cooperative Extension
Tropical Color
If you really want tropical color in your garden, now is a good time to plant tropical ornamentals. This will give them time to start establishing their root systems in the ground before it gets cold. It’s best to put them in a protected area such as under an overhang or against a sunny wall so that they are less susceptible to winter frosts. Be prepared to cover them with cloth—not plastic—on nights when frost is expected, especially during their first winter. With proper planting location and frost protection, some plants that can survive in this area are bougainvillea, hibiscus, and true plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). They won’t be as large and flowery as in their native tropical environments, but can still produce some good color and vacation vibes. 

Photo: Desert Bird of Paradise at Emma Prusch Park, Allen Buchinski

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Upcoming Events
Sat, Aug 05, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Drip Irrigation Workshop, Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Aug 05, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., Raising Terrific Tomatoes, Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto

Sat, Aug 12, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., Flower Cutting And Arranging Workshop, Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Aug 12, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m., California Native Plant Gardening Including Maintenance Tips, Sunnyvale Teaching and Demonstration Garden, 433 Charles St.,, Sunnyvale

Wed, Aug 16, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m., Preparing For Your Fall & Winter Vegetables Garden, Calabazas Library, 230 S Blaney Ave, San Jose

Thu, Aug 17, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Less Work – More Food: Growing Cool Season Vegetables, Palo Alto Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto

Sat, Aug 19, 9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m., Growing California Native Plants, South County Teaching and Demonstration Garden, 9400 No Name Uno, Gilroy

Sat, Aug 19, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Lose The Lawn - Talk And Workshop, Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose

Sat, Aug 19, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Low Water Lawn Alternatives, Berryessa Library, 3355 Noble Avenue, San Jose

Wed, Aug 23, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Cool Season Vegetable Gardening in a Mediterranean Climate, Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave, Cupertino

Wed, Aug 30, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m., Soils And Compost, Los Altos Public Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd, Los Altos

Sat, Sep 23, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m., Growing Cool Season Vegetables, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, 438 Coleman Ave, San Jose

Sat, Oct 07, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Fall Garden Market At Martial Cottle Park ($6 parking at Martial Cottle Park), Martial Cottle Park (Master Gardener area), 5283 Snell Avenue, San Jose

Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents).Start by reviewing our plant problem diagnosis tips.

  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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