With fall in sight, there are a few projects which need to be done to move the garden and landscape into the next season. A little planning and some late summer maintenance can encourage a new burst of growth and color that will last for weeks, depending on where you are located maybe months, beyond the new equinox.
Here is what I do to extend my gardens energy:
• Deadhead- both annuals and perennials- if you have a hedge trimmer, it makes this so much easier, especially for wide spreaders such as Shasta daisies and lavender
• Pull out all annuals and perennials that have died or are on that path
• Stake all taller growing perennials
• Deadhead/prune knockout roses for gorgeous late summer growth
• Pinch blooms from herbs. After most herbs bloom, their leaves begin to lose flavor, so pinch the blooms to encourage last minute growth.
• Continue watering container plants regularly
• Apply a fresh layer of aged compost mix to enrich the soil over winter
• Weed- no one likes to hear it, but hand weeding is the best and safest way to control the situation in most gardens. Regular weeding walks through the area can help to keep them in check.
• Note what annuals, perennials and shrubs performed well over the season and what colors/plants would be good for next years gardening
Here is a listing of shrubs and perennials that perform at their best from late summer through fall. This is the time to mix a few of these into your garden or landscape for more color and texture. Plant coneflower, sedum, black-eyed susan, shasta daisy, Russian sage, Knockout Roses, Anemone, Ornamental grasses, asters, rose of sharon (hardy hibiscus), herbs, salvia, yarrow, butterfly bush, carolina allspice, smoke tree, viburnum, american bittersweet, Japanese maples or chokeberry.
I clip tiny branches from my herb plants to display in my tiny bud vases all during summer. With basil in the kitchen, rosemary in the bathroom and thyme in the bedroom, what a way to tickle the senses.
If you have herbs in your garden that will be maturing over a few weeks time, you will definitely want to harvest and dry or freeze the leaves for fall and winter cooking.