The Big Idea: Cut back your annuals and perennials in July. You'll be rewarded in September. Following the advice of her gardening mentor, Louise Wrinkle, Cathy cuts back swamp sunflowers to 3 feet tall and often reduces sages and impatiens by half each year around the Fourth of July. This creates a compact plant that is less likely to topple over or split in high winds.
Takeaway Tip: For small gardens, choose compact selections of the plants you desire. Cathy uses 'Santa Barbara' Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara') for this reason.