What to do now - Jobs in the Garden by Season

Banish the summer gardening blahs

Keep your garden looking gorgeous right through the fall months


Add some late bloomers

If there are little or no colourful flowers left in the garden, add more late-season perennials. There are plenty of tough plants that reach their peak bloom in late summer (the bonus is that many attract butterflies). Most are North American prairie natives, such as coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) and black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp.) or their cultivars.

Container-grown perennials from the nursery can be planted any time during the summer. It’s important to water regularly (at least once a week) to help roots get established; don’t let plants dry out.

Fill in holes with fall annuals
For more late-summer colour, fill gaps with traditional fall annuals such as chrysanthemums (which are really perennials, treated as annuals), pansies and ornamental kale.

Revive containers
Replace pooped-out container displays with fresh fall plantings. Some to try: Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima), African daisies (Osteospermum), golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) and snapdragons.

Late-season cheer
Perennials

  • Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida) full sun to part shade Zone 4
  • Michaelmas daisy (Aster novi-belgii) full sun
    Zone 3
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) full sun
    Zone 3
  • ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum ssp. maculatum ‘Gateway’) full sun
    Zone 4
  • Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) full sun
    Zone 4
  • False sunflower (Heliopsis) full sun
    Zone 3
  • Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya) full sun
    Zone 3
  • Oriental lily hybrids and Orienpet (Oriental-Trumpet cross) lillies, full sun
    Zone 5
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) full sun
    Zone 5
  • ‘Herbstsonne’ and ‘Goldquelle’ Autumn sun coneflowers (Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstsonne’ and ‘Goldquelle’) full sun
    Zone 3
  • Autumn Joy sedum (Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’) full sun
    Zone 3
  • ‘Matrona’ sedum (S. telephium ‘Matrona’) full sun
    Zone 3
  • Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum syn. Veronica virginica) full sun to part shade
    Zone 3

Ornamental grasses
  • Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) full sun
    Zone 4
  • ‘Transparent’ and ‘Skyracer’ tall purple moor grasses (Molinia caerulea ssp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’ and ‘Transparent’) full sun
    Zone 4
  • Switch grass (Panicum virgatum cvs.) full sun
    Zone 4
  • Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) full sun
    Zone 6

Shrubs
  • Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris cvs.) full sun
    Zone 4
  • Blue mist spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis cvs.) full sun to part shade
    Zone 5
  • PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) full sun to part shade
    Zone 4
  • Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) full sun to part shade
    Zone 5

Read more in What to do now and Jobs in the Garden by Season

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