Here we are in mid to late August. Landscapes can become rather drab with perennials having spent their blooms. You can plan for next year by planting shrubs that will bloom later in the season so that next year you will still have color from late summer to early fall. Here are some choices.
- Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). This is easy to grow but needs about six hours of sun daily. It will produce single or double flowers in white to red, purple, violet, or combination, depending on the variety you buy.
- Sweet Autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora). This is a vine that loves to twine onto a trellis or anything handy. It has dark green leaves with small, white flowers with a lovely aroma. The flowers are replaced by fuzzy balls, that are also rather attractive. This is fast growing and needs to be cut back to the ground each spring. They can tolerate full sun to part shade.
- PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora). This will need well drained soil and is best in sun to part shade. It will produce large clusters of white flowers. You can train it into more of a tree than a bush.
Using Potted Plants
Many people buy potted plants in the fall to spruce up their entry way or inside the house. Near the end of the season, they will plant these outside in the garden but wonder why they did not come back the following year. There are three reasons. They were not put in the ground early enough or they were planted in the wrong place. The final reason is that they have been bred as an annual. Check the tag when you make your purchase.
A plant needs time to establish a good root system. If you plant it too late in the season, it will not have enough time to develop before frost hits. Read the tag that comes in the plant. It will tell you whether it can take full sun or needs shade. Place them in your garden according to the light it receives. Here are some potted plants you might want to add to your perennials.
- Garden mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium). These can be found for sale everywhere from garden centers to grocery stores. You will have your choice of colors. They will bloom in late summer unless you pinch off all the buds and prune back a bit. Stop pruning about Independence Day and they will regain their foliage and rebloom in September.
- Asters (Aster ssp.). Check for height because some varieties get very tall. They need full sun and need good soil. Wet clay will only rot the roots and dry or sandy soil will make them wilt.
If veggies are more your style, you can replant lettuce and other greens, turnips and radishes from now until early September for a fall harvest. Plant the seeds a bit deeper than you did in the spring. Depending on rainfall, water frequently until the seedlings emerge. Then reduce the watering. Just be aware that hungry rabbits are still around.