Wind Down Summer Tips

What’s going on with this container garden? It could be titled “Where’s the chair?” We sat with friends on the deck and I noticed that the space between people and plants had grown much smaller since August. We have had a robust growing season for these annuals.


Late July was when this plant was trimmed to about 5 inches of stem, to be more in proportion to the container. This photo is from early August, showing some re-growth.

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Now past mid – September, the container needs another trimming. With our average frost date around October 10th, that doesn’t leave a lot time for re-growth, to enjoy its blooms again.

Next season I will check faster growing annuals such as petunias  to trim them the first time in early July and then again in late August as needed. That’s one of the points made by Korey Mensch in the end of summer tips.

 Korey Mensch of the Mensch Greenhouse, Inc. in Avon, SD shares tips for the yard and garden as summer wanes. He attributes highest gardening skills to his dad. We thank Korey for conveying these suggestions to readers.

  • I would recommend getting rid of all or as much as possible of your garden waste and not tilling it back into the soil this year. Bacteria, fungus, and viruses thrive with the high moisture levels we have experienced these past couple of seasons.
  • It’s never a bad time to do a little trimming on your flowering annuals. The heat may have stressed your flower beds, or a storm may have messed up some of your desired looks. Don’t be shy about getting in there and trimming back whether a little or a lot is needed. Healthy and happy plants will bounce back quickly, and the fresh blooms will shortly return.
  • Share! If you are blessed with an overabundance of fruit or flowers, spread the word. There might be someone in need of your excess and they may have a supply of something that you may find yourself in need of. Local food banks are always in need of veggies with a decent shelf life left.
  • Keep in mind all of the variables that your garden has made it through for the season; cool weather, wet weather, hot weather, humidity, cool again, etc. Note the success you have had with certain varieties and lack thereof with others. Every year is different just as every gardener is different. Keeping track of these little things might provide some help going into the future seasons.
  • If you are new to canning or freezing your hard-earned crop of veggies, reach out and ask for help from the more experienced.  YouTube and Google can only teach you so much of the nuances that can make or break a whole ten step process. Best to learn from someone that has made a mistake or two, before you cost yourself all that time and effort.


You may have guessed sunflowers are a favorite here, as one is the image for Plant Exchange Blog. Seeds of low-growing container sunflowers from Burpee were planted directly into the container in June. These flowered in late July, earlier than in-ground sunflowers.


I dead headed all the spent sunflowers in late August and now here they are back for more bloom after mid-September. Sunflowers are slower growing than petunias and develop later in the season, so they need slightly different timing to re-bloom. They don’t need trimming.


These Purple Majesty annual grasses contrast with the sunflowers concerning extra care. The plumes of seed develop and wave in prairie breezes as they grow slowly from starter plants in June to winter interest.

It’s a time of odds and ends to the season that make life delightful. Have fun today!



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