Ahhh…those late summer days! Crickets chirping, hummingbirds swooping by! We cherish these days. But, if your flower beds look anything like mine, they have plenty of weeds, dead flowers and brown foliage. Believe it or not, a better looking garden is only about an hour away!
With extremely low rain fall the last few months, my garden is looking really crispy. The daisies, hostas and most of the oriental lilies have gone by. Many of the lower leaves of the perennials have turned brown. Perennial garden care is much easier when done more frequently. Time for a late summer garden face-lift!
This is a shot of one of my garden beds. You can see how brown the iris have become. Lots of flower stems, but still plenty of flower action going on.
Now, look how the bed has been freshened up. You will need hand clippers, a bucket and a kneeling pad. Without even edging the garden, I was able to rip out the grass that grew in toward the plants. Roughing up the dirt around the plants makes the garden look even better. By clipping all of the stems of the hosta flowers, the plant can now look reasonably good until frost.
Notice how the lily stems detract from the gorgeous hydrangea blooms. By cutting back each one, you have a more manicured look.
As the summer goes on, iris leaves can look terrible and make your garden look very unruly. Simply pull any dried pieces, they come right out. Then, with your clippers, cut them so they look like a fan. Fanning the iris leaves like this can make a huge difference in how your garden looks!
We have a large clump of Shasta daisies in our front garden. After some rain they have completely flopped on some of the plants. It was time to cut them down. No deadheading here. A quick haircut and then I stuck a mum in front of it to fill the gap.
Deadheading is very helpful in promoting more blooms. I have several butterfly bushes or buddleia that really love being trimmed. My pollinators really love it too! Just snip above the next flowering shoots. The plant will then stop having to send energy to that dead blossom. Perennials start producing seeds after they bloom. In some cases, you may want more volunteers to come up. But, some plants should not be allowed to seed out because they quickly become weeds. Ever have that happen with chives or tall phlox? Then you know what I mean!
With some plants, such as cone flowers or yarrow, you may want to leave their seeds. They add a structural element to the garden bed that can last through the winter. It’s up to you how you want the garden to look!
I picked up a few clearance perennials at the greenhouse. When they are under $2, you don’t have a lot to lose. I found a Penstemon and a Salvia. Both look a little done but the foliage is healthy. Just some clipping of the dead flowers and they are ready for the ground.
I always scavenge around for cheap plants at the end of the season. I guess I have the patience for these poor orphaned plants! One year, I bought a rhododendron for a dollar. It is now 5′ tall and blooms profusely year after year. I just make sure that whatever I pick up is hardy for our area and it usually works out.
If you have planted any annual flowers in your garden, it’s a great time for them to really shine through. Cosmos, zinnias, cleome, they all go until the frost. These can drastically impact the way the garden looks.
Don’t give up on your flower beds yet! With a little spruce up, you can extend the beauty of the season! Try just an hour or so, it will make a huge difference. We still have plenty of warm weather left so get out there and immerse yourself in it. Did any of you plant any veggies for fall? I’d be interested in how it went. Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks for joining me this week!