Can It Be September Already?

It is impossible to believe that the calendar page flipped to September already! Hopefully, you have danced between the raindrops this summer and found plenty of time to swim, barbeque and of course, garden. Since September is usually a busy month, do some planning now and you’ll be sure to get it all accomplished.

Refresh your containers.
Although some annuals have come into their own in late summer, many long-blooming plants are just tired! As a complement to cooler weather, it’s time to add a few autumn touches with green- or purple-leaved, ornamental cabbages, flowering kale, fall-blooming asters and chrysanthemums. 

Bring on the bird buffet
Encourage migrating birds to stop by on their trek to warmer climates. Offer them a variety of bird seed in clean feeders, a fresh water source and fresh suet blocks. Native plants such as agastache, salvia, sunflower and goldenrod will encourage many types of birds to stop by. When deadheading your perennials, allow some of the coneflowers to remain standing, as finches love the tiny seeds. September is a good month to plant berried shrubs for food as well as shelter for wildlife. Offer the bright red berries of native hollies such as Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and American Cranberry Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) or the purple-black fruits of the Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) which are a more manageable form for smaller gardens.

Divide perennials and share.
Fall is the best time to divide spring and summer-blooming perennials such as peonies, daylilies, phlox and iris. Replant them at least three weeks before frost to insure a healthy root system that will be tough enough for cold, winter months.

Who doesn’t love chives?
You can plant chives in spring or in autumn. It’s a perennial that will come back year after year. Chives sprout in spring and will be ready to harvest for their light, onion-y taste with tossed greens, potato salad and on baked potatoes. 

Hurry up, tomatoes.
If you want those last green tomatoes to ripen up more quickly, pinch the growing tips of the plant so energy is channeled into the ripening process—not new foliage.

Pay it forward.
In deer country, choose spring-blooming bulbs that don’t tempt them.  Pick from a large variety of Allium or Narcissus (Daffodils), Anemone blanda, Camassia, Chionodoxa, Ipheion, Fritillaria or  Iris reticulata. If you plant in multitudes, you’ll be happier next spring! In flower lore, the gift of a bunch of daffodils will ensure happiness.

What’s the buzz? The sound of summer. Filling your garden with flowering plants that bees like is the perfect way to a part of the cycle of nature. Bees are hardworking insects—pollinating our crops and flowers for us and feeding themselves and their community at the same time. And, don’t forget the honey—one of nature’s simplest pleasures.