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Late Summer, Early Fall Gardening

With summer winding down, it may seem like there really isn’t much to do in the garden anymore. The temptation might be to kick back and not really worry until the first frosts come and you need to rake leaves and shut off the sprinklers.

Nothing could be further from the truth! While we are all for relaxing and enjoying your special space before the chilly weather arrives, your garden still needs attention. Plus, this is a great time to get some plants in before the weather turns cool.

What many people do not realize is that soil temperature is much warmer now than in the spring, so if you plant now, the roots have a much easier time getting established and reducing the chances of transplant shock. Additionally, the plants will soon be going into dormancy, meaning they won’t need quite as much care.

This is also the time to get those spring-blooming bulbs into the ground. Planting bulbs is inexpensive and easy, and they will be that first burst of beauty and color you get to enjoy next spring.

In fact, this is when you should be giving a lot of thought to next year’s garden by doing a critique of this year’s.

Right now, your garden is in “full swing.” Everything is about as big as it’s going to get this year, and with the rains we’ve been having, the colors are as brilliant as you could hope for.

So, take a step back and really look at your garden, as if for the first time. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your plants in the right place?
  • Are they thriving, or do you struggle to keep them moist or dry? Are they getting enough (or too much) sun?
  • Do you have blooms for spring, summer and fall? (Often, people do one big shopping trip for plants in the spring, with the result that they have amazing color in the spring and early summer and almost nothing for the rest of the year.) Give your garden a little more “punch” by picking plants that will flower at different times.
  • Is there a plant that you can hardly see because the plant next to it is taking over, or is everything around it the same color?


If you need help choosing some plants to fill out your garden for the summer and fall, we can help. Grab your smartphone, take a picture of your garden and come by Warner’s Nursery. We can help you find something that will look great and flourish in your garden’s “bare spots” and help you get a head start on next year’s blooms.


In addition to planting new flowers, trees and shrubs, you also need to do some garden maintenance this season. Here are some tips:


  • Get your weeds under control. If you let them be, they will re-seed and you will have twice as many to contend with next spring. We can help you figure out the best plan of attack.
  • Deadhead perennials. Many perennials will continue blooming well into fall, but need to be dead-headed in order to re-bloom.
  • Replace spent annuals. Flowers you planted in spring looking expired from the summer heat? Don’t be shy about taking them out and replacing them with something new and fresh.
  • Refresh your container gardens. Often, you just need a new plant or two to give your container garden a lift. Take out the spent plants and replace with late bloomers like mums, salvia and snapdragons.
  • Feed them, Seymour! Just like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, your plants need food. (Although, unlike Audrey, they probably don’t need blood.) If you want your late summer blooms to keep going into fall, they will need some fertilizer.


We hope that you are enjoying these last weeks of summer and are looking forward to the fall!


Happy Gardening! FBN


By Misti Warner




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