- Proper watering is essential to the life of your
perennial garden. For best results, use a drip irrigation system to
prevent wetting foliage, or use a hose-end sprayer that imitates a
subtle shower. You can soak the soil under the foliage at the roots
without blasting away the mulch or soil.
- Purchase water-soluble fertilizer in pre-measured
packs to use in a spray bottle attached to your hose end.
- Cut back aster, chrysanthemum, Joe Pye weed and other
tall growing, late flowering plants, early in the season to create
more compact plants.
- If the garden is drought-stressed, withhold
fertilizer. Fertilizers are chemical salts that can actually dehydrate
plants. They also push growth in an already stressed plant.
- Monitor insect populations. Aphids, whiteflies and
spider mites tend to proliferate in hot weather.
- Remove damaged foliage from hellebores.
- Order garden seeds for spring sowing and plants for
spring delivery. The best selection is available early.
- Deadhead all spent blooms. Remove the clippings to
minimize disease problems.
- If mildew is a problem, cut back foliage and/or thin
plants to increase air circulation.
- This is peak butterfly season. If you want
butterflies, do not destroy caterpillars! The Eastern Black
Swallowtail caterpillar feeds on parsley, fennel and dill. Grazing
caterpillars won't hard plants, so welcome the butterflies and the
caterpillars to the garden.
- Use stems of Artemisia foliage with cut flowers,
which also keeps the Artemisia from becoming leggy.
- Resist pruning peony foliage until early October so
the plant can absorb energy to produce a healthier, more floriferous
peony next year.
- Plant Italian arum between the hosta. Their foliage
will rise to provide winter interest as the hostas go dormant. The
arum foliage will wither as the hosta arise in spring.
Photo Karin Guzy
Italian arum foliage rises in Fall and is evergreen throughout the
winter months. In spring, the leaves wither, leaving behind orange
seedheads from the white winter spathes to decorate the rising hosta
- Divide peony, Siberian iris, hosta and daylily. Add
organic material to the soil when replanting and keep it moist.
- Feed chrysanthemums with liquid fertilizer every two
- Buy spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting, but
don't plant them until the soil temperature is 60 degrees or cooler.
You can plant bulbs through January.
- Remove old mulch and replace new mulch under roses to
help prevent disease on next year's leaves.
- Apply fertilizer to fall and winter-growing
perennials such as lenten rose and Italian arum.
- Check perennial nurseries for end-of-season sales.
Bargain plants grown too long in containers may be potbound, so
thoroughly loosen rootballs before planting.
- Be sure azaleas receive enough water. They are
setting blooms now for spring.