Bright Summer Pots
Use large containers to provide instant focus and strong color accents. Colorful foliage plants can make these containers eye-catching displays on patios, on stairs, and around fountains and birdbaths. Consider easy-care choices such as coleus. ‘Pink Chaos’ will provide a beautiful display until frost. Strong-textured plants, such as agaves and yuccas, can offer additional accents. Try Beschorneria Hybrids or manfreda with their long, curved flower stalks and unusual flowers. All of these attract hummingbirds. For additional interest consider an edging of wax-leaf begonias. Or try small-flowered million bells (a petunia relative), which trails in colors such as terra-cotta, purple, and yellow.
- Turfgrass care--Delay lawn fertilizing until early fall. Brown patches in turf at this time of year usually indicate poor water distribution. Check sprinkler heads, and use a hose to water dry spots. Raise the mowing height to the highest or second-highest level (31/2 to 4 inches). Pay special attention to narrow strips between paved areas that tend to dry out quickly and are most vulnerable to chinch bug infestations.
Central, East, North, and South
- Plant--Add transplants of perennials such as garden mums, aromatic asters (Aster oblongifolius), Mexican mint marigolds (Tagetes lucida), and Mexican bush sages (Salvia leucantha) now for a show of color in your flowerbeds this fall.
- Mulch--Replenish mulches to sustain landscape plantings through the late-summer months. Shrub borders should have 3 to 4 inches of commercial mulch or recycled leaves. Old or spoiled hay makes an excellent mulch when available. Shrubs and specimen plants, such as roses or salvias, need extra care and occasional deep watering during times of extreme heat and drought.
Central, West, and South
- Roses--Everblooming shrub roses benefit from a light pruning, fertilizing, and mulching at this time. Start by removing any weak or dead wood, and then shorten the entire plant by about one-third. Apply slow-release fertilizer, add mulch, and water well to encourage abundant flowering as the weather begins to cool.
Central, West, and South
- Vegetables--Continue to pick tomatoes, squash, okra, eggplant, and peppers just as they mature. This will encourage them to continue
producing into the fall months. Water deeply every three to five days, and mulch well. There is time to set out transplants
of new plantings of Southern peas, okra, squash, and cucumbers.