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Road trip! We head out tomorrow morning for a visit with my sister and her husband in Lucan, Ontario. I’m looking forward to seeing her place in the summer as we have only previously visited in November. It’s always interesting to see Cathy’s gardens. She used to live in British Columbia, and had a wonderful garden there.

In preparation for being away for four days, I gave all my containers of annuals, vegetables and herbs a deep, thorough soak. All the ones in the shade should hold well until I come back. The sun pots will be checked by my neighbour once while we are gone.

I don’t have any hanging baskets this season. If I did, they would need to be watered daily if it stays sunny while we are away. I do have two small containers that normally sit in the sun. One has a Bay Laurel in it and the other flowers. I will tuck those in an area that gets morning sun but shade from the heat of the day, so that they don’t dry out too fast.

All my containers of annuals are still very healthy and blooming like crazy. I have been very diligent about watering regularly, removing spent blooms on flowers that require that maintenance and fertilizing often. If  your pots are looking a bit tired, give them some love! Those flowers will need lots of nourishment to keep blooming right into fall.

If you are looking for more colour around your yard as summer winds down, fall flowers will be arriving at garden centres soon. Mums, ornamental cabbage and kale, fall pansies and more will be available to help your gardens stay colorful right through to Thanksgiving. Not that I’m wishing summer away, but that is the cycle of the gardening season.

I did manage to get most of the new garden beside the shed planted this week. As I was browsing for just the right perennial, I kept in mind a few spots in my other gardens that need a bit of attention. There are lots of late summer blooming perennials to choose from for my sunny and part shade gardens. I’m considering Shasta daisies, Echinacea, Bee Balm, Salvia, Coral Bells, Sedums and Daylilies.

There are so many colourful options available that I need to check plant tags carefully to narrow down my choices.   Be sure to always pay attention to eventual height and spread of the plants you are considering. Tags also indicate which soil type that perennial prefers and it’s optimum light condition. A thoughtful choice will result in a plant that thrives in your garden.

By this time of year, I start to get questions about moving shrubs and dividing perennials. It is still a little too warm for either of those tasks. If you have the option, wait until mid to late September. We want the heat of the summer to be past and plants to look like they are starting to shut down for the season. Then there will be less stress on them. I will address both of those topics in more detail in the next few articles.

I did get a call from a lady who was concerned about the state of her daylilies that a landscaper had to move and divide. She thought they looked quite unhappy. There are situations when that kind of task has to be done at a less than optimum time. I advised her to remove all the flower stalks and any seed pod that might still be on the plant. You want it to focus all energy on new root production. An application of water soluble transplanting fertilizer would also be of benefit.

I also constantly get asked if it’s ok to plant throughout the summer and fall. The answer is always “Yes, as long as you are around to give those plants the water they need to settle in well.”

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About Me

I began my journey in horticulture in 1982 after graduating from the Humber College Landscape Technician program. At that time, I lead a talented crew of landscapers, taught evening courses in horticulture and had my own landscape design and consulting business. Then I ventured into the garden centre world. I’m lucky enough to be leading the friendly and knowledgeable team at New North Greenhouses. 

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New North Greenhouses

719 Airport Road

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

P6A 5K6

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