Refreshing Your Late Summer Garden

By the end of August or early September, our gardens that were once so bright green and colorful are now looking dried out and tired. I long for my upbeat orange nasturtiums or soft lavender with its fresh aromatic scent. My vegetables are finishing up, and the basil that worked so hard to thrive is now going to seed. But our days are still warm, and I still water for 10 minutes each morning, so why can’t I have a garden full of color as we approach the cooler days of fall. Looking around, I realize I can. My garden does not have to look finished weeks before fall. Last weekend, my husband and I spent hours refreshing our garden for an upcoming dinner party, and with a few trips to the nursery and a little sweat, we produced a garden that looked alive again and ready for the cooler shorter days of fall. Follow these tips below to revitalize your garden.

Prepare your garden for fall by removing vegetables that have gone to seed. Pull up dried out plants and re-energize to freshen the dirt. Don’t hesitate to add a bag of potting soil to your garden as well. Use organic mixes to keep anything that might be genetically modified out of your garden. Pull weeds. Plant annuals for instant color. If you live in the West choose English daisies, snapdragons and pansies. Be sure to check your climate zone and beware of the first frost. For fall planting perennials choose Peruvian Lily, corn flower and coreopsis. These plants will make it through the winter giving you a burst of spring color. Add some interesting hardscape such as moss rock to add dimension and texture. Place pots in direct sun which is getting less and less by the day. Fill these with annuals for instant color. Design fall container gardens by using plants of varying heights. Remember to choose plants that take the same amount of water and sunlight. Mingle bright pinks and ice blues, balanced with a hint of yellow. Or choose shades of deep bronze and plum for jeweled winter colors. Plant vegetables for fall harvest such as lettuce greens including arugula and red leaf lettuce. It’s also the time of year to plant Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and broccoli. Dead head your plants. Nothing says dried out quite like dried up flower heads. Fill in shady areas with hostas. These plants are hardy and easy to grow but do need moisture and seem to attract slugs so be vigilant about these pests. Did your ground cover get a little over enthusiastic during the summer? Cut this back to give your patio and bordering areas a cleaner look. Brush off the seating areas and think about using some bright cushions covered in outdoor fabric. Keep summer going by using bright oranges and yellows. There is still time to enjoy outdoor living. Host a dinner party featuring the late summer harvest. Heirloom tomato salad, stuffed peppers and fresh corn on the cob are perfect additions to a summer or early fall meal. For a centerpiece a big vase full of sunflowers completes your decor.

Enjoy this time of year as the air feels a little crisper and the leaves turn from green to yellow and red.

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