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It is always a great pleasure - and surprise - when you happen on just the perfect place in which to plant some special treasure

~ Margery Fish ~

Late Summer Garden Chores

How did your garden grow? We can only hope it fared better than ours.

Our plants really suffered this year. First the late hard freeze in April, followed by a prolonged drought in June and finally, record high temperatures for most of August with non-existent rainfall. It seems like many of our new plants did not have much of a chance to show off. That, to me, makes it really hard to decide on the keepers and tossers. I was really impressed with the 'Little Wart' Daylily, not only is she a beautiful shade of lavender, but she was loaded with flowers and bloomed from May until July, never once looking stressed or needing to be watered. Definitely a keeper!

In our zone 7 garden, we still have plenty of time left for end of season clean-up, but for those of you further west or north, now is the time to dig and divide perennials, start seeds for next year and relegate spent annuals to your compost heap.


Pull up your spent and leggy plants and toss them on the compost. Don't have a compost heap yet? Consider starting one in an out-of-sight corner of your garden.

Replant the empty areas with seeds for next year. You'll also have some extra space for your divisions.


Take a walk around and see which plants are in need of more space. Any that are too close to structures? Others that may have multiplied generously? Any whose color just didn't complement the chosen location as you had hoped?

Now is the time to dig, divide and move. Share your excess plants with friends and neighbors!


Assess the shape but wait to trim your shrubs until after your first hard freeze. Also keep in mind that some shrubs will bloom on 'old wood' and you will want to prune these varieties after they finish flowering in the spring so as not to be cutting off next seasons buds (examples are azaleas).


Pull up spent plants and set out spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and other cool season crops. Harvest annual herbs and freeze or dry them for use during the winter.


Give your perennials and biannuals a headstart and seed them out now. You may want to experiment with 'winter sowing' annuals. There are many articles talking about this supposedly new technique. In my mind it's just imitating Mother Nature: put the seeds out one season and let them sprout when they are ready in the spring!


September in the Garden:

Start Perennial Seeds:
Divide and Plant Iris
Shop for garden gifts: