In the Garden column: Time to revitalize your garden for the fall

If flower gardens could talk right now, they would be saying, “I am tired!”

Summer blooms are fading, or have lost their brilliance. The hot, humid days have left behind some pretty sad plants in the garden in spite of our valiant efforts to water, weed and deadhead.

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How can you bring back the lustre in your lack-lustre gardens?

General maintenance will help add some life to many of your summer flowering plants so that they continue to bloom into the fall.

Continue to cut back overgrown plants, deadhead spent flowers, feed containers and tired border perennials with liquid food and water, water, water. 

Keep on top of weeds as they take valuable nutrients from your garden plants.

The more you pick flowers from your garden, the more you will encourage more flower buds to form and open.

Deadhead (cut the dead flower heads) plants such as dahlias, roses and penstemon to prolong the display colour well into early autumn.

Don’t neglect your hanging baskets at this time. Deadheading, feeding and watering hanging baskets will keep them robust through until autumn.

Planting some brightly coloured annuals, grasses and fall perennials will also help invigorate a late summer garden.

But if you really want to add some dazzle to your late summer garden, take a look at your container gardens! Add some pizazz to your containers with brilliant colours that scream “autumn” such as the deep purples of ‘redbor’ kale, heuchera, vibrant orange and yellow of multicolour ornamental peppers, ‘delta fire’ pansies and rust-brown of carex ‘Prairie fire’.

Let your surroundings be your muse when incorporating plant material into your existing containers. Using the palette of highly colourful leaves of nearby maple trees, for example, can help inspire your plant material for your late summer container gardens.

Planting containers near the end of the growing season means you can focus on the short term. You don’t have to plan for the long haul. Because the season is becoming cooler you can really jam in a lot of plants without worrying they will outgrow the pots.

And finally, incorporate elements from your environment — cattails from local ponds, grasses from fields, seedpods from castor beans, cut branches and other materials that reflect what is going on in your garden or in nature at this time of year.

So, jazz up your containers, add some brilliant autumn colour to your garden beds to revitalize and energize your sleepy garden!  

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. For more information visit online at RichmondGardenclub.ca.

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