August 2018 is the calendar month when summer begins its slow crawl towards autumn, but not before a few more hot days and thunderstorms!
Enjoy the bounty of the season! Vine-ripened tomatoes, ripe melon, sweet corn on the cob, and blueberries are just a few of our favorites. Canning season is here, too, and you can find tips and recipes below.
The end of the month signals the time to start preparing for autumn.
Summer declines and roses have grown rare,
But cottage crofts are gay with hollyhocks,
And in old garden walks you breathe an air
Fragrant of pinks and August-smelling stocks.
—John Todhunter (1839-1916)
August is named in honor of the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar (63 B.C.– A.D. 14), who was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar.
August 1 traditionally marked the beginning of the serious harvest. “After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day.” See more about Lammas Day.
On August 17, the Cat Nights begin, harking back to a rather obscure Irish legend concerning witches; this bit of folklore also led to the idea that a cat has nine lives.
August 19 brings National Aviation Day, chosen for the birthday of Orville Wright who piloted the first recorded flight of a powered heavier-than-air machine in 1903.
August’s zodiac signs are Leo (July 23–August 22) and Virgo (August 23–September 22). Find out your zodiac profile.
Recipes for the Season
See more summertime recipes at What’s in Season: Summer Recipes.
The summer and fall are also popular times for family gatherings. Visit our Family Reunion Planner for lots of great recipe ideas.
Seeds nearly ripe must be gathered from the birds, such as cabbage, fennel, lettuce, mustard, etc. See our page on seed-saving for more information.
Planting a second (or third) crop? Check our Succession Gardening chart for last planting dates.
Remember to plant your fall bulbs now: Growing Guide: Fall–Planted Bulbs
Cucumbers for pickling should now be gathered. Preserve the bounty of the season’s harvest by trying your hand at pickling and canning!
See how to store your fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the coming winter.
- August’s full moon, the Full Sturgeon Moon, rises on August 26 at 7:56 a.m. EDT See your Moon phase date and more about the full Moon for August.
- August is a wonderful month for star gazing! It’s also the month of the Perseid meteor shower, which reach their peak between August 11 and 13.
- A partial solar eclipse occurs on August 11; in North America, it’s visible only in very NE Canada.
Planning on finishing up outdoor house projects before the summer ends? See our Home Improvement pages on painting, flooring, wallpapering, roofing, and more.
Bugs buggin’ you? Look to our natural remedies for insect bites and stings.
August Birth Flowers
August’s birth flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy.
The gladiolus symbolizes strength of character, sincerity, and generosity.
The poppy symbolizes eternal sleep, oblivion, and also imagination.
August’s birthstone is peridot, which is said to symbolize strength and healing power, protecting its wearer from nightmares and evil, ensuring harmony and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.
- Peridot is the rare gem-quality form of the mineral olivine that appears in various shades of green, sometimes with a brown or yellow tinge. Called “evening emerald,” the peridot was often mistaken for that other gem. Peridot is formed deep inside the earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.
A previous birthstone for this month was sardonyx, which is characterized by alternating bands of sard and onyx, both forms of chalcedony. Although it can appear in several colors, it is usually reddish and white. It is thought to bring courage, happiness, and eloquence.
- Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I once gave the Earl of Essex a ring made of sardonyx, pledging her aid if he was ever in need. Later on, when accused of treason and scheduled for execution, he tried to send the ring to her but an enemy intercepted it. The queen learned of his plea only years later, after he had been beheaded.
This Month in History
The Crescent City
In 2018, New Orleans is celebrating its Tricentennial. In 1718, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founded the southeastern Louisiana city, naming it after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time. The official founding date, however, is unclear: Some honor the city’s start when the first clearing of vegetation may have begun, possibly in March or on May 7. Others consider August 25 the true establishment, when hundreds of French colonists arrived to settle in New Orleans and surrounding areas.
Whatever the exact date of its origin, today New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana. Its original contours follow a bend in the lower Mississippi River, for which it earned the nickname “Crescent City.” Considered the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is famous for its rich blend of cultures, which is reflected in part in its cuisine, music, and architecture. The elaborate Mardi Gras celebration is one of many festivals that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy in the city each year.
In 2005, flooding and high winds from deadly Hurricane Katrina devastated many parts of New Orleans. While the healing and rebuilding continue, the spirit of the city remains strong.
Ongoing efforts focus on helping individuals, communities, and businesses to recover and on making improvements to ensure the happiness, safety, and prosperity of all residents in the years to come.
Folklore for the Season
- As August, so February.
- Observe on what day in August the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October.
- If the first week of August is unusually warm, The winter will be white and long.
- So many August fogs, so many winter mists.
- When it rains
It raises honey