by Beth Monroe, Public Relations & Marketing Director, and Grace Chapman, Horticulture Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Summer’s end can be a challenging time for gardens. Some plants may not have fared so well, yet in our mid-Atlantic region, we still have a couple more months of the growing season. What’s a gardener to do? Below are 5 quick and easy tips for an end-of-summer makeover to help your garden look good through the fall.
1. CUT BACK. Keep the garden looking tidy by deadheading annuals and perennials that are leggy. Fertilize annuals to bring back into active bloom for September until frost.
2. WEED VIGOROUSLY. Keep the weeds out to make sure the “good” plants get the sunlight, nutrients, and water they need. Fall mulching will greatly keep down the weeds as well as keeping a neat and tidy look.
3. USE INTERESTING FOLIAGE. Fill in bare spots with plants with beautiful foliage – herbs are often a good choice. Use basil, rosemary, variegated sage and golden oregano.
4. PLANT ANNUALS. Although they only last one season, annuals can provide blooms until frost. Use them to fill in a perennial garden or containers where color is desired as a focal point in the fall garden. Check plant nurseries and garden centers — annuals are often discounted at the end of the summer! Some great fall and winter annuals include ornamental kales and cabbages, as well as pansies and violas which will often persist and bloom until spring. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden uses them to provide winter interest and also complement the bulb display in the spring.
5. PLANT CHRYSANTHEMUMS. When garden-hardy chrysanthemums become available, select and plant them in late August or early September before flowers open (most have color tags to indicate floral effects.) Space at least one hand’s width apart. Planting chrysanthemums before they bloom helps establish the root system, resulting in longer-lasting flowers. These plants will brighten up any fall garden and extend the enjoyment until spring-flowering bulbs are planted in late October or early November.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s 2013 Fall Plant Sale is Friday, September 20 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Saturday, September 21 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)