Southern Coasts

August, 2000
Regional Report

Prune Back Perennials


Take your hedge shears, string trimmer, or even a good old scythe to cut back and renew rampant perennials gone ragged, such as ?Homestead' verbena and vinca major. Both will start new growth soon after pruning and bloom again in late winter. Fertilize only if you dare encourage them to grow more.

Replant Tired Annuals


Rip out those sad-looking annuals and replace them with fresh flowers that'll bloom for months to come. Replacement plants include purslanes and moss rose, but don't overlook fall perennials such as sedum ?Autumn Joy'. Common crocosmia leaves look tired and ugly by now so cut back or dig up extra plants to share or compost.

Solarize the Garden Bed


If you're not using an empty bed for fall vegetables, shame on you. But you can use the bed's down time to solarize the soil, safely killing weeds and their seeds. Anchor a 6-mil-thick sheet of clear plastic over the raked and moistened soil. Use soil or bricks to seal the edges tightly. Leave the plastic on for 6 weeks, then till, rake, and even plant a new fall crop.

Mid-Summer Rose Care

Roses may be flagging now, but get ready for great roses next month. Prune roses lightly, cultivate around each bush, then apply a rose fertilizer, one inch of compost, and your regular mulch of ground bark or pine straw. Keep roses watered during this heat for best fall flowers.

Harvest Pears


Harvest and store Oriental pears before they're completely ripe to prevent rot. Gently press the fruit with your thumb to test it. When it begins to "give" to the touch, harvest away. You can plan to plant pear trees this winter by looking around now to find the best local varieties for fruiting and taste.

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