How To Perk Up Your Garden Mid-Summer

Are your garden beds and window boxes looking bedraggled? Here’s how to give them a mini-makeover.

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A tiny honey bee collects pollen from the center of an orange day lily in full bloom.

Photo, iStock.

All those grand dreams you might have had at the garden centre back in May might be withering in the heat. But all hope is not lost. There is after all, still half the summer to enjoy. Here’s how to spruce up your garden beds and window boxes and keep them blooming well into the fall.

Trim back

Remove dead flower heads. This way, you might be able to coax another bloom from perennials, such as delphiniums and asters. Cut back straggly stems on your geraniums and pansies, and be sure to dead-head your day lilies. And pinch off any blooms appearing on your basil plants—you want the plants to keep producing those tasty leaves.

Hydrate well

By this point of the summer, things can start to look a little parched. But don’t rush out every day with the hose for a quick sprinkle. Watering your garden less frequently but for longer stretches encourages the roots to grow deeper in the soil, which can help the plants weather hot spells. If it’s been a while since the last rain storm, give everything a good long drink. To avoid mildew forming on plants, water close to the ground instead of the leaves, and water in the morning rather than in the evening.

Add some insulation

Spreading a thin layer of mulch over the dirt mid-summer lowers the temperature of the soil and helps the ground retain water. Plus, mulch slows the growth of weeds.

Bring in some new life

If some patches have not fared so well, consider adding in wild grasses or a few fall-flowering plants, such as sedum and chrysanthemums. Extending the flowering season also helps pollinators, which need a continuous source of pollen and nectar. Be sure to water the spot well before you plant.

Mind the gap

Using an edger tool, make your way around the perimeter of your garden beds, giving them a sharp, new look.