Garden Adjustments

I love September. I do not know about you, but the cooling day temperatures and fairly stable weather patterns are a delight after the grueling heat of summer, especially the heat of the past couple of weeks. I love September for another reason. September is a pause, a moment of reflection, a savoring of peak annual bedding plant performance and a fresh round of perennials blooming their hearts out before…the end. I have time now to adjust a plant composition or move a sprinkler or rock, since the work of summer is passing.  

Early September is a great time to fine tune the garden bed, to step back and look at how well the children are playing together. The garden is still at full leaf; trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are still showing their full physical dimensions. Are they getting too large for their space? Is a particular plant in decline? A dead plant is an opportunity, not a tragedy. It is a teachable moment to embrace, and a chance to try something else. 

Is the composition still achieving what you intended? This is the time of year to divide, transplant or add some new material to an area that just “ain’t working.” Look for deals at garden centers that are running sales on tired summer inventory. A half dead plant can sometimes be nursed back to life with a little care and attention. Garden centers are also stocking fresh material newly arriving from wholesale growers, so there are plenty of options for the next few weeks. Be aware that fresh perennials are arriving in bloom and maybe blooming a bit out of season. On the other hand, they may be pushing fall blooming material (because consumers like to buy a plant in bloom), and you may be looking for plants with features peaking at different times. Take that smart phone with you and do a little research before you purchase. If you are hesitant to try something new, I say give it a whirl. Gardening is one grand experiment and a fun adventure. Live dangerously. Have yourself a fall fling.

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager

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