Monday Miscellany: End-of-Summer Pruning, Nursery Sales, Barberries, and How to Snag the Right Shot

Can’t believe summer’s officially over! Everyone in Humboldt’s complaining that we didn’t even HAVE a stupid summer this year, while everyone else is complaining about the record heat. Grass is always greener, I guess. Anyway, here’s what’s going on in the gardening world right now…

End-of-summer pruning

Towards the end of summer, a lot of things are looking bloomed out, floppy, or just a tad wild. Just a bit of pruning and deadheading can neaten up the garden and keep a few things blooming until winter arrives.

If you’re ready to get out and do that end-of-summer cleanup, here are a few links you might find helpful:

How to prune Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage)

How to prune a floppy Miscanthus grass in summer

How to prune Heaths and Heathers (this is important to do right after bloom as I explain in the video)

How to deadhead Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily)

How to snap just the right shot

If you love to take photographs, I’d urge you to go on over to Gardening Gone Wild and see Saxon Holt’s latest on how he composes photos. The shots of what worked and what didn’t in the lavender harvest photo shoot were both gorgeous and instructive.

Low-seed Barberry varieties for areas where they are invasive

Berberis isn’t invasive here in Humboldt County, but if you’re reading from the Northeast or Midwest, it’s a terrible problem because birds can disperse the seeds in wild areas and colonies of this prickly plant can take over wild areas and choke out other plants.

Debbie in Connecticut has a list of 7 low-seed Japanese Barberry varieties, so if you are growing Barberry in your area, be sure to consult the list for ones that will be least likely to be harmful to wild lands. You may even print out the list and bring it in to your local nurseries, because this kind of information can be extremely hard to come by. Many people think there are two options – plant them, or not.

Fine Gardening also has an article about invasive plants in general, if you want to learn more about some common invasives and what makes a plant invasive or not.

Nursery sales are ON!

Everywhere I go, people are clearing out their summer stock of perennials and getting in their winter stock of blueberries, Rhodies, and year-round do-ers. It’s easy to get tempted by 30-50% off pricing, but remember, not everything is best planted in fall. Things that are frost-tender or don’t really appreciate our Pac. Northwest rains are best planted in spring, while shrubs, hardy perennials, and woody plants like Heathers are lovely to plant in fall.

Here’s my list of what not to plant in fall (and what to plant!). Print it out and take it with you to the nurseries so you don’t get lured in by that rack of 30% off frost-tender Salvias.


  1. says

    Hi Gen, Thanks for mentioning my barberry post. The voluntary phase-out of barberry here in CT does show that there are other options besides ‘plant or not plant’. Although barberry is a bit unique since there are so many cultivars on the market to choose from. I think the voluntary phase-out may be a model for other states when they deal with invasive plants in the future. Rather than banning the entire species, use science to figure out which cultivars to ban and also to breed new cultivars that should not have invasive tendencies. I’ve heard rumors that the scientists at UCONN are already working on seedless cultivars of Burning bush (winged euonymus), the other major invasive plant in our CT woods.

  2. says

    Genevieve, I actually think that Cal-IPC has pretty good lists of invasives and potential replacements, nicely organized by region here: Yes, they don’t seem to list varieties you can plant, but if you must plant a cotoneaster (for example) you can always make sure it’s not one of the invasive varieties. Or plant Rhamnus crocea (redberry) instead…

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