Plants that will keep your garden colorful until fall

Published 5:22 am Tuesday, August 15, 2006

By Staff
The dry, hot, dog days of late summer are now upon us.
Lots of perennials are starting to wind down.
But all hope is not lost for color in our gardens.
Now is the perfect time to breath some new life into them.
They are probably looking a bit exhausted about now.
Have cheer, dear gardening friends, we can refresh and breathe new life into our weary, tuckered-out, frazzled gardens.
By choosing a few plants, be they annuals, perennials or grasses that not only offer us their richly-colored flowers, but ones with colorful foliage and striking seedheads, too.
We gardeners just aren't quite ready to "throw in the towel" on our gardens and gardening – not just yet.
Need some ideas on what to buy and plant?
Start with purple coneflower.
They also come in white, yellow and orange, too.
Black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, toad lily (tricyrtis hirta), Japanese anemone, turtlehead (chelone glabra), Joe Pye weed, anise hyssop, asters, boltonia, goldenrod (don't confuse this beauty with ragweed, as butterflies adore this plant), ornamental grasses, perennial ageratrum, artemisia, helianthus, sweet autumn clematis, mums, caryopteris (bluebeard), hibiscus, colchicum (autumn crocus – don't confuse these with spring crocus, actually a corm, not a bulb, also deer and rodent resistant, blooms late summer-early autumn), gallardia (blanket flower), sedum, canna, monkshood, physostegia (false dragon head), branched coneflower (rudbeckia tirloba, one of my personal favorites!), sweet potato vines and coleus, just to name a few.
We must keep our gardens thriving in amongst the above-normal temps, and then, as if this wasn't enough, we have to deal with the scant, stingy amounts of rain, too.
About now, after all this, it can be a bit much.
Call it "late summer gardening fatigue," but, before you give in, here's how to keep our gardens going a bit longer.
Water regularly, water newly-planted items often, avoid fertilizing in hot weather, deadhead, leave developing seedheads if you want volunteers for next year and weed often, as they steal and compete for nutrients and water.
Mulch, mulch, mulch as this not only holds in moisture, it also keeps unwanted weeds from germinating, too.
I know we're all "done in," but there's still lots to do.
Gardening requires LOTS of water – most of it in the form of PERSPIRATION.