Rx for Late-Summer Flower Gardens

Revive the garden for late-summer beauty.

By FamilyTime


About now, your flower garden may remind you of an aging prom queen. You know it was drop-dead gorgeous just a short time ago but now it’s looking a little worn and tired.

Don’t despair. Just as the prom queen still looks spectacular with a bright smile and a little attention to style, your garden can regain its glory to look as cheerful and lovely as earlier in the summer.

Here’s how to help:

  • Fill in the blanks. If you see brown spots or empty spaces where June flowers bloomed, plant some flowering annuals or annuals with interesting foliage. Most garden centers still sell these in August — and you might even get them for a bargain price. You can also divide those that have taken over other parts of your garden and replant them where needed.
  • Plant fall perennials. Garden centers will have these on hand and now is a good time to plant them someplace where they can establish themselves happily. These might be asters, mums or sedum, for example. They will look even better next year.
  • Weed the garden as thoroughly as you can. By late summer weeds may run rampant and spoil the appearance of any garden. If they have flowers, snip them off and discard. If allowed to fall into the soil, the flowers will re-seed the weeds. Once the blooms are gone, either cut the weed down to the ground or pull it out but the roots. Disturb the soil as little as possible.
  • Add more mulch to neaten up the garden and hold in moisture. The mulch also keeps weeds at bay.
  • Water sad-looking perennials and shrubbery. Chances are your garden has been coping with mid-summer drought conditions. Give it several good waterings to perk it right up. Long, deep soaks are best. Sprinklings do not penetrate the soil.
  • Fertilize and feed pots. While fertilizer may stress plants in the garden that are dealing with drought, it will only help your pots. These should be watered daily, too, to insure they stay healthy. Don’t hesitate to move pots around and station them in the garden to brighten bare spots.
  • Deadhead flowering annuals and perennials to encourage continuing blooms. This is as important with fall flowers as with spring ones.
  • Cut perennials that have finished blooming to half their height. This will encourage strong growth next year.
  • Move garden ornaments and benches around. The birdbath or gazing globe may look better elsewhere at this time of year where the planting is thinning or has died back.