Nothing personal towards her customers, but garden centre operator Pam Erikson is looking forward to closing up her nursery this month and turning her attentions to sleeping, writing, painting, and paperwork through until March. It’s been what she describes as a hard summer for serious gardeners. She took a wander through the garden one recent morning, and couldn’t help but admire how “great” the hydrangea paniculata has been looking.

GREEN THUMB LANGLEY: Garden tired, much like the gardener

Garden columnist Pam Erikson talks about late summer gardening her latest contribution

It’s that time of year when things are starting to look a little tired in the garden – myself included!

While we have not had the extreme drought that the past few summers have suffered, it is still dry and some parts of the garden are starting to show it.

I get many questions about lawns – and I always say not to worry too much about it. We all try to be water-wise these days, so I don’t get overly concerned about the grass.

When the lawn gets stressed, it goes dormant just as many perennials do – but will return when we get some wet weather again. I have even begun to chop down some of the daylilies that were looking a bit sad, and some have already started showing some fresh new leaves.

This always seems like the hardest time of year to me in the garden.

That gap between the fresh colours of spring/early-mid summer and the deep rich colours of fall leaves me a little sad.

But happily there are a few things we can do to lift spirits! Some roses produce a wonderful late summer flush of bloom – one such variety in my garden right now is South Africa, with fragrant deep apricot blooms that make me smile.

The dahlias are coming into bloom; along with still a few late-blooming daylilies (Daylilies Final Touch, Lord of Autumn, Regal Finale, and Final Exams are all in full bloom and will last well into September) and later blooming hostas (hosta Stained Glass has amazing white fragrant trumpet-shaped blooms that started in mid-August); and the hydrangea paniculatas are stunning.

A lot of annuals are looking past their best right now, but I have to say that the Coleus we put into containers this year are still stunning and have not faltered at all during the heat.

I did heavily trim back some of the petunias and they are recovering nicely, albeit not as well as they did in June.

Ornamental grasses are starting to strut their stuff and many of them will be showing off their magnificent plumes in the next few weeks – always a highlight for late summer.

And if you are looking for more colour to add to the garden in the next few weeks, try some fall Chrysanthemums and asters – they are striking.

And finally the vegetable garden – fabulous production from most people I have spoken with this year, and the pumpkin, zucchini, and cucumber crops look to be especially bountiful.

I predict a lot of chocolate zucchini cake in my future.

So try to enjoy this last bit of summer – before we know it fall will be here and the reds, oranges, and deep golds of the trees will take over.

– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and

president of the Langley Garden Club

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Final Touch daylily (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Final Exams (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Penhill Watermelon dahlia (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Lord of Autumn (Pam Erikson/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

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