by Alexander Catt on August 25, 2011
Perennials: Evaluate the gardens with an eye for improvements. There is still time to fill in bare or lackluster areas with fall mums, sedum or Japanese anemone. Bulb orders should be in the mail, but there is still time to purchase a variety of bulbs from your local nursery. Cut back ragged looking perennials and those that have mildew or that the slugs have disfigured. Begin dividing phlox and day lilies. Continue weeding to prevent seed formation.
Flowers: Collect and save seeds for next years garden. Cleome and nigella bear seeds in capsules that are ready to harvest when the capsules turn brown and begin to split. Dry the capsules in a brown paper bag, label and keep in a cool dry place until next spring. Pull up spent annuals and add them to the compost pile.
Vegetables and fruits: Continue harvesting cucumber, eggplant and peppers as they ripen. Cut fruits from the plants. Pulling may damage the plant. Prune to the ground berry canes that have finished fruiting. If the strawberry bed is three years old, rotate it by detaching runners from the mother plants and replanting in fresh, rich, well drained soil amended with compost or well-rotted manure. Discard the old plants.
Trees and shrubs: Pruning and fertilizing tasks are over for the year. Consider adding flowering shrubs to the perennial border. Roses, viburnums, potentillas, dwarf hydrangeas and small lilacs add structure, color and mass to a flower border. For partial shade go beyond rhododendron and azalea and consider clethra, fothergilla and mountain laurel.
Lawns: Continue renovation projects, seeding, dethatching and aeration.
Houseplants: Prepare houseplants to move indoors. First, check them over thoroughly for pests and spray if needed with insecticidal soap. Repot overgrown plants.
General: Glyphosate is an approved herbicide, but any herbicide must be kept away from ponds or streams and used with caution and common sense.