Thursday, September 04, 2008
Five ways I keep it fresh in the late season
This is not the kind of post I usually do. I try never to blatantly give advice. So just take this is as some guidelines I follow, not anything I suggest for others. Or just ignore everything I’m saying.
1. Have a water feature. Especially when it’s hot in September, the cool water and—ideally—lush foliage that surrounds the water should lend a cool, green atmosphere. By this time, our pond is totally overshadowed by vines (hydrangea, wisteria, trumpet, clematis). Sadly, my sweet autumn clematis was obliterated by the pond guys and it hasn’t struggled back yet.
2. Plant lots of foliage plants. Unlike flowers, these won’t let you down in the late season. Indeed, some of the tropical or hot zone/annual ones like musa, colocasia, croton, and coleus get bigger and better than ever. Meanwhile, the rudbeckia and echinacea are beginning to look kind of ratty at this time.
3. Have lots of annuals, period. Most of them, if properly watered and fed will pump out flowers through much of October. I’d much rather keep my annuals going than plant mums (Fie! Bah!) or autumn sedum (yawn) or other plants prescribed for fall. Japanese anemone is wonderful, but I don’t have enough of it.
4. Buy new plants if you can find them. This may be terribly extravagant and wasteful but if you have good nurseries that still have viable annuals at this time, why not. I don’t cavil at buying full-grown, blooming dahlias. Maybe I’ll even succeed at saving them. I’ve also found that buying smaller seedlings from such places as Select Seeds, will give a mature plant later. This is certainly happening with my black-eyed Susan vine.
5. Cut back, deadhead, or just rip away crappy brown plants that are serving no useful purposes. I’ll leave the rudbeckia and conehead seedheads for the birds, but there are limits.
And there you have it. I still need to finish number 5 and I’m taking a stab at 4 tomorrow.