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Tips For Gardening in Late Summer (Plus a Garden Tour)

A different type of post today. We’re going to take a stroll through Gingham Gardens and as we go, I’m going to give you some tips on spiffing things up around your gardens. Let’s be honest, towards the end of Summer things start looking a little rough and ragged in the gardens. Some of my plants have been enjoyed a little to much by bugs. Some are just done. And, others are tired of the heat. Can you relate? Come along for some Tips For Gardening in Late Summer and a relaxing virtual stroll through my gardens.

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This sloped flower bed is a bit of a crazy mess, but every year it is getting better. I made some changes this spring and I’ve got some more to make this fall. My goal is to have consistent three season color in this perennial bed with perennials in mass plantings. Want to know more about designing your own 3-season perennial garden, be sure to check out: Designing with Perennials for 3 Seasons of Bloom

This flower bed has come a long way in three years and I’m loving the progress so far. If you haven’t already seen the makeover of this garden, check it out when you’ve finished up here. Right now, it’s pretty much all about the coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, phlox, balloon flower, coreopsis and the last of the daylilies in this flower bed.

Image of a flower garden at Gingham Gardens

Here’s a cute little vignette with tall garden phlox and birdhouse stakes. Got to love the photo bombing lily.

Flower Garden - Tips for Gardening in Late Summer

Here’s a sweet little garden area beside our deck. There’s Viking Magic daylily, False Sunflower and a pot of mandevilla. I like to add in a few annuals around the border to keep consistent color going throughout the summer. 

Image of a flower garden


How to Keep Mosquitoes Away When You’re Working In The Garden

To deter the bugs, especially mosquitoes, from bothering you when you’re outdoors, I highly recommend these citronella bracelets. They really work and last a long time. I wear one around my hat and one on each wrist.

These thermacell units work amazing at keeping the bugs away too. We have a couple on the deck, so we’re able to enjoy evenings outdoors and they do the trick. If you’re working in one general area in your garden, they will also work to keep the bugs away from the area.  

Another weird thing that works to repel bugs is Bounce dryer sheets. I’ve stuck these in my hair before with a headband and hair clips. Just remember to take them off before you run into neighbors or decide to make a run to the garden center. Yep, I did that!

Here in the same tiered flower bed are my favorite coneflowers – PowWow Wild Berry, along with Irish Wedding Daylilies and a few little Kobold Liatris that the bunnies didn’t eat.

Flower Gardens - Tips For Gardening in Late Summer

This shade border garden that runs along our back fence has come a long way since last year. Here it is last summer.

Border Shade Garden - Tips for Gardening in August

Despite the fact that most of the shrubs were eaten to the ground by rabbits last winter, the plants are really starting to fill in and this year it’s one of my best gardens.

I recently did an updated post on this Shade Border Garden and included some of my junk garden vignettes in it. This is one of my favorite posts and I think you’ll enjoy it! Here’s a different angle, but it’s easy to see the progress in just one year.

Tips for Gardening in Late Summer – Tidy Up The Gardens

Grab a bucket (or a grocery bag), a pair of gardening shears and gloves. The links are to my favorites.  Just take a quick pass through the garden and deadhead and cut back spent foliage. See those ugly daylily scapes, cut those all the way to the ground. Dried up hosta flowers, those too. Now, pull those weeds while you’re at it.

If you have a bunch of flower beds like me or a really big garden, just pick one flower bed or area a day. Really, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can tidy things up. 

Don’t forget to Save Some Seeds when you’re deadheading those flowers!

Just in case you need some more tips for How to Deal With Weeds In Your Gardens, many have found this post very helpful. Also, Flower Garden Maintenance has some great practical tips for keeping your flower gardens looking their very best all summer.

Here’s a section of the made over shade garden. It’s filling in nicely for now, but at some point in the future, I’ll be rearranging and getting rid of some of the common hostas, like royal standard and lancifolia. I don’t have anything against them, there are just so many other more attractive varieties I’d rather have. It’s also on my never ending list to add some other shade plants to this garden. Yes, there is slug damage to some of these plants and I missed snipping some spent flower stalks. See what I mean by rough and ragged. Note to self, to get the Sluggo out earlier in the spring.

Aren’t impatiens amazing! They are such an underrated annual flower. They require so little care and they let you know when they need a little drink. Plus, they do not require deadheading to offer up continuous blooms the entire season. Impatiens are definitely a perfect annual flower for the shade.

Shade Garden With Field Stone Border - Tips for Gardening in Late Summer

I’ve shown this cute little tipped pot of impatiens in a few other posts. The latest was the Summer Flower Gardens post. Now look at it – a Pinterest project on steroids. Where’s the pot? These impatiens went wild. Ha ha, oh well, at least they are pretty. See what I mean about impatiens!

Impatiens - Tips on Gardening in August

Let’s not forget about the vegetable beds. Here’s one of my tomato plants – Super Sweet 100.

Tomatoes - Super Sweet 100s

Lots and lots of banana peppers. I give lots away and we like them chopped up in taco meat and other Mexican dishes. They are also wonderful in salsa. 

Banana Peppers - Tips for Gardening in August

What to Do in the Vegetable Garden in Late Summer

Give the veggie beds some attention too. I just have 4 raised beds, so not much to tend to. I go through and do a quick weeding. To keep down the weeds, I use dried, untreated grass clippings around the veggie plants. Now, cut all the yucky looking leaves off the bottom of the tomato and cucumber plants. The tomatoes aren’t ripening very fast, so I’m going to give them another dose of some organic fertilizer. If veggies are taken care of, some will just keep producing right up until the frost gets them.

In my zone 4 gardens, there are many veggies that can be planted for a fall harvest. Did you know that cooler weather make vegetables sweeter. Some vegetables that can be planted in August for a September or October harvest are: radishes, lettuces, spinach, broccoli and many others.

This year I’m experimenting with growing more veggies in containers. I’m learning that they require much more fertilizer and water, as well as larger containers.

Image of a Garden

More Late Blooming Flowers in the Gardens

I can’t get enough of tall garden phlox. It has such a subtle sweet smell. Pollinators love it too. The picture below includes Thai Pink Jade Phlox, Beautiful Edgings Daylily and Becky Shasta Daisies.

Image of a Flower Garden

I just can’t stop until I show you more of my Daylilies. I have over 60 different varieties. South Seas is really putting on a show this year. I recently saw a picture of South Seas Daylilies with Shasta Daisies and balloon flowers. The color combination is stunning and I’m going to replicate it in my gardens. 

South Seas Daylily - Tips for Gardening in Late Summer

Cedar Waxwing was a freebie in an order from Oakes Daylilies last year. It’s gorgeous!

Cedar Waxwing Daylily - Tips for Gardening in August

Another later blooming daylily is Cherry Cheeks. This one is a real stand out in the garden.  

Image of Cherry Cheeks Daylily


I’ve shown Gaudy Gaudy off before, but she’s just so pretty and intense. Gaudy Gaudy Daylily is one of the last daylilies to bloom in my gardens, so when most of the others have pooped out, Gaudy Gaudy is still cranking out the blooms everyday.

Gaudy Gaudy Daylily - Tips for Gardening in August

Late Summer is the Perfect Time To Plan Next Year’s Gardens

Take the time while everything is still fresh in your mind to do some Garden Planning for next season. Garden Planning – How to Plan Next Year’s Gardens is an excellent article that takes you through the steps of planning out your gardens for next year while the garden is at it’s peak. Take some time to check it out. There’s a printable guide available too.

Your best gardening tool is your Garden Journal and Planner! In case, you’ve never kept a Garden Journal, this article will tell you how and why to keep a Garden Journal. As an added bonus, all the forms, charts and lists to put together your own Garden Journal and Planner are available in our Gardening Resources Library.

It just wouldn’t be a Late Summer Garden Tour without sharing my lovely Dahlias with you. I don’t have a good, flat sunny area to grow dahlias, so I decided to grow them in containers this year.

These babies are about 7 – 8 feet tall, and even though I put a tomato cage around them and staked them, the wind has damaged them a couple of times. They are doing fine now though and are setting lots more buds.

Here’s a shorter variety that doesn’t require staking. I started these early in my pop-up greenhouse.

This is the second summer for these dahlias. They overwintered beautifully and are a bit bigger this year. We’ll definitely try for a third year. 

If you don’t grow dahlias, just give them a try. You won’t be sorry. The tall varieties need staking and if you live in colder climates the tubers need to be lifted in the winter. Despite that they are gorgeous and worth their trouble. Learn how to overwinter dahlias and other tender perennials in this post.

Pink Garden Phlox with a Pink Dahlia

More Tips for Gardening in Late Summer – Enjoy Your Gardens

Now that things are all tidied up, grab your camera or your phone, and take a stroll through your own gardens and snap a bunch of pictures.  Once you stop and take a look, I think you’ll decide there’s still lots of beauty left in your late summer gardens. Post some pictures on the Gingham Gardens Facebook page, or send me some pictures of your gardens. I’d love to see them!

Be sure to pick a bouquet of flowers to bring indoors and enjoy some of those fresh veggies for supper tonight.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you enjoyed my garden tour today and are encouraged by my Tips for Gardening in Late Summer. How are your gardens growing? Are they tired? Leave a comment and let me know. I love hearing from my readers. Likewise, if you have a gardening question, I’d love to help you out.

Happy gardening,

Follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest for lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.

Late Summer is a GREAT time to buy tools and garden decor. Many gardening items are cheaper now! A few of my favorite gardening items:

More pins to share:

Image of a Flower Garden with Text Overlay - Gardening in Late Summer

Images of Flower Gardens with Text Overlay - Tips for Gardening in Late Summer


  1. Love your gardens, there so beautiful and creative ideas, so cute! Do you use a drip irrigation? Was thinking of installing one. What are your thoughts? Always look forward to your new posts.

    Thanks, Michelle in Georgia

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens and for your sweet compliments! I highly recommend drip irrigation. It cuts down on lugging heavy hoses around all summer. That being said, I have the drip irrigation system that I talk about in Flower Garden Maintenance, but I have never taken the time to install it. After our exceptionally dry summer, it’s high on my project list for next summer. Happy gardening, Joanna

  2. Just wanted to add to the mosquito post. If you want to sit on your porch or patio, get a fan to blow where you are sitting. Mosquitoes are weak flyers and can’t fly against a strong breeze.

  3. Hi, I wanted to let you know I found your article about Tips For Gardening in Late Summer very helpful. Thank you, Richard

  4. Thanks for this post, Joanna, Your gardens look amazing despite the heat & drought You certainly have the touch with using re-purposed garden ornamentation in unique ways.
    In central Md. we’ve had a month of 90+ &temps & dry weather. The hurricane came thru last week & dropped about 6 in. of rain. Your cone flowers are outstanding this year. In my area the crape myrtles,cone flowers,rudebeckia, cleome, ,tall phlox & lime light hydrangea are in full bloom now. A few of the crapes as well the Limelight tree hydrangeas are bent over due to the winds & heavy rain but they will spring back. Good luck,I,m looking forward to seeing your gardens in the fall,Joe

    1. Hi Joe, always good to hear from you. We could really use some rain. Although I water the gardens there’s just nothing quite like a good rain shower. The lawn is looking really awful because we don’t water it. Happy gardening, Joanna

  5. Beautiful gardens! The only thing I seem to be able to grow is hostas not much color there. I’ve tried other things but without success. Guess I’ll have to live vicariously through your posts.

  6. Hi Joanna:
    Love your spindle bird houses. That gives me an idea for my garden. I have spindles and a red hat lady my friend made from a spindle. I should put her in my garden. We both like gardening.
    I also saw some little houses made out of blocks of wood and painted. Simple but very cute and adds some colour as well as dimention.
    Thanks so much for sharing. You do a lovely job.
    All the best.
    Happy gardening to everyone.
    Shirley in Canada

  7. . Hi Joanna:
    Your gardens look lovely. Always like seeing your vintage finds. I have a few but need to spruce some of them up a bit. I am a senior so hard to get out to get paint etc. to work with.

    Do we ever get tired of gardening? I don’t think so to me it is relaxing not a work. Love to be out there first thing in the morning. The birds are singing and the dew is so nice got to love it.
    The bugs got into my liliies not sure what they are. Black and red. I used diatinaciour powder on them and that helped some.
    Our days are cooler 24 degrees yesterday instead of 32. A welcome change for me. I know winter is coming but I love the nice bright snow. It is the ice I do not like.
    Keep up the good work. All the best for a great fall.
    Shirley in Canada

  8. Love your post. Easy common sense way of taking care of our gardens. Sad to see gardening season slowing down. My garden, my passion.

  9. I live in the desert/mountains of California where the soil is like hard clay and very rocky. I can use the rocks for landscaping but cant plant anything in the ground because it is too hard to dig holes. I had to have someone drill holes for four fruit trees and hope they will grow and produce but can’t do that for plants. I would love to have a garden with flowers but not sure what to do. Should I just put some potting soil down and put plants on top or make a raised bed or what? Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Carol – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Yes, if you would really like to have a garden, I would highly encourage you to give raised beds a try. Start small and see how it goes. Just make sure your raised beds are at least 8 inches deep and fill them with some rich compost. Manageable bags of compost can be purchased at big box stores for fairly inexpensively. Best of luck to you.

  10. Joanna, your garden still looks so beautiful and your tips very helpful. Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. Joanna, you have amassed a stunning collection of daylilies. Your gardens are just beautiful and your tips are always so helpful. Thank you for sharing with Gardens Galore and Happy Gardening!

    1. Thanks, Pam! And, again thanks so much for hosting Gardens Galore. I really look forward to visiting everyone’s gardens.

    1. Thanks, Bonnie, I’m so glad you enjoyed my August garden tour. If you look really close, I’m sure you can find a few weeds. Happy gardening!

      1. I have found the mulch really helps with cutting down on weeds and when they do appear they are much easier to pull.
        Thanks Joanne of this tip a long while ago.
        What is the name of the large leaf plant with a tinge of pink? It is lovely.
        I have a beautiful white lily the ones the bugs liked. Has stayed nice for a couple of weeks. I think it is a star gazer.
        All the best to everyone for a lovely fall of gardening. Spring will come.

  12. My gardens are looking a little tired. Some plants at thinning out and some a little dieing back. I did just what you recommended- took scissors and trimmed out some of it to freshen the look. Hard to accept that we’re nearing the end of the growing season. I’ve been critiquing my garden beds and feel a little frustrated with them. I have an idea to move some big hostas but I will need help. There’s always something isn’t there! A gal I know in Virginia has morning glories growing and she’s still waiting for the blooms too. I just looked up some of my older posts and it looks like anywhere from the last week of August through the middle of September before they bloomed for me. So beautiful though- worth the wait! Your impatiens are very happy!

    1. Hi Liz, thanks for stopping by. Really now is the best time to make plans for next year. Gardening is definitely not for wimps. Good luck with those hostas.

  13. I loved the tour and appreciated the tips. The decorations are so cute. I have been trying to add more things to the garden but lack creativity and need ideas from others.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    1. Hi Jeannie – thanks for stopping by. Pinterest is a goldmine of creative ideas for the garden. Good luck and happy gardening!

  14. I’m so glad I found your site. This summer has been so-o-o-o trying. We are about 20 miles west of Lake Michigan in Chicagoland, and it’s so good to see a Midwest gardener with similar issues. Though your garden looks fabulous. With the late spring and then crazy heat—my flowers skipped spring, and the vegetables have just started to go nuts this last week. It will be great to get some tips—as we must adapt to this new weather patterns which seem to be a real cycle now.

    1. Hi Sandi – I’m so happy you found me too. It has definitely been a challenging gardening year. Like I always say, “gardening is not for wimps.” Come back soon! Happy gardening.

  15. Beautiful! Thanks for the tour. I used to plant morning glories every year and stopped about two years ago because I got lazy ( I had them trailing up the porch but in the fall when the blooms started to drop it was always a mess to clean up ) I have volunteers every year though 🙂

    You have such a lovely variety of blooms and it all looks lovely and I am sure your morning glories will kick in 🙂

    1. Hi there Deb. Thanks for stopping by. I have a bunch of morning glories in different parts of the yard, so we’ll see. I hope you’re doing better and it’s not too hot for you.

  16. For August your garden looks lovely. Just a comment on the non-flowering Morning Glory. You probably have ‘Heavenly Blue’ which doesn’t bloom till late August. I usually combine ‘Heavenly Blue’ with ‘Grandpa Ott’ on my trellis’. Grandpa starts blooming end of June. That way I can enjoy blooms most of the summer.

  17. Love the idea of the spindles turned into birdhouses. I have some spindles,just need to get the husband to cut me some blocks..lol…everything is so pretty

  18. Were it my garden, I would wait another year before ripping out the first border shown. It will grow in and be wonderful. Having ripped out just such a border and never been satisfied since, I know the perils. What a fine blog. Glad I signed up.

    1. Thanks so much, Gaye, for stopping by and taking the time to comment. That’s really good advice. I know plants really fill in by year 3. I will probably just stick with doing some rearranging. Are we gardeners ever satisfied. Happy gardening!

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