After a long stretch imprisoned indoors by the brutal heat wave, many gardeners are ready to return outdoors and decide what need to be fixed in their flower beds, containers and baskets.
If this were mid-August instead of mid-July, I’d say let it go until pansy-planting time in September. But that’s a long way off, and there are many weeks ahead to enjoy fresh plantings of summer annuals.
Plus the nice drop in the temperature – has the mid-80s ever felt this good? – reenergized us to remove all reminders of the heat wave. Some plants, notably annuals that were planted in late spring, look worn and weary. With a light dose of fertilizer and regular watering, they could perk up and it might be worth showing some patience.
The pots and baskets had a difficult time. A long stretch in the upper 90s and low-100s was too much for them. Keeping them watered seemed some days to be a hopeless task. And because these are key ingredients in your porch, deck or patio display, you want them to look good.
Such containers are not difficult to replant and garden centers remain well-stocked with plants of mature size that create a fresh look instantly. It is this fresh look that will help you forget the past few weeks of miserable heat and look forward to more pleasant times in your outdoor living rooms.
Thinking about replanting containers at mid-summer and consider an entirely new look from a major change in color or form.
Some colors, such as rusty reds, soft burgundy, golden orange and mauve are excellent choices to carry your pots and baskets through late summer and into fall. This will be enough of a shift to make you think you have a new garden on your deck or patio. It will give you a life in a way that sticking with the heat-worn annuals in their spring pastel colors will never do.
Vary shape and height
A second way to change the look with fresh plants is to go for plants that are different in shape and height. For example, if your pots were filled with trailing plants, go for vertical ones such as red scarlet sage or the late-blooming perennial salvias in blue or violet.
If your pots were more vertical, look for more horizontal plants such as trailing lantana or petunias. Or combine trailers and verticals, with angelonia or pentas in the center, and cascading plants encircling it.
Giving your containers a lift will give you a lift. They will look better and help you forget days of miserable heat.
They may also distract your attention from the grass, which also took a beating. This is no time to be thinking about bringing it back to spring glory. Just let it rest. Some will be dead, other parts will be dormant.
Mid-September is the time to start thinking about renewing your lawn. For the moment, lets just work on the pots and baskets and get them back into top form for the rest of the summer.