Fall for Color -Fall 2017
by: Hilary Newell
Toward the end of August, flower gardens often begin to look a little fatigued. Annuals have been blooming their heads off, summer perennials are starting to fade, windstorms may have broken some stems, deer have been nibbling, and diminishing day-length has started to affect the quantity of some blooms.
Luckily, there are plenty of plants whose time to shine is after all the showy summer flowers have faded. Late-blooming perennials and fall-blooming shrubs will help you keep your garden beautiful late into the fall. Spring and summer offer tons of color and interest, but to really enjoy your garden for a longer period of time, you will want an assortment of plants that are colorful and interesting in all seasons. If you put in some effort and a little planning your garden can look great well into late summer and fall.
When you are planning your garden early in the growing season, look specifically for plants that are late bloomers. Most of them will want to be planted toward the back of the border, as they will have the whole summer to grow and get tall. You may want to stake them to keep them from falling over, but do that when they are young. There is no way to make a curvy stem stand up straight after it is bent.
Periodic pruning and pinching is another way to make those taller plants stockier and bushier. Not all plants will produce flowers after they have been pinched, but asters will definitely benefit from a few good pinches. Start when the plant is small, and pinch a couple times before July 4, and then let the plant grow. The pinches will encourage side branches and they will have flowers too. Essentially, they are a little shorter, but a lot stronger when you pinch. Do a little research to find out if your plants will benefit from pinching.
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