September - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

< Back To Regional Gardening Guide

map for zone 3-4

Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

My flower gardens are at their peak right now - lush, verdant, blooming, fertile – mature. Plants are spilling over walkways and reaching for the sky. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I’m awe-struck, fascinated and captivated by the beauty. But, I’m also saddened to realize that we’re at a tipping point. Any day now, the weather will cool, the flowers will diminish, damage from pests will take a toll, and the leaves will fall. Alas, I know the days of summer are numbered.
I write this post at the end of August, on a day when I’m mesmerized by what I’ve seen on my morning stroll through the yard. This year, I went a little crazy with zinnias.  They’re planted in the front gardens near the street for a big splash of color as well as in the vegetable garden in the back yard for cutting. I think I have every size and color available!

Pretty pink Zinnia, Forecast

Zinnia, Garnet Treasure Hybrid

I grow tender bulbs and tropical plants in containers where I can give these special plants a bit more tender loving care – better soil and lots of fertilizer. I place them away from harsh winds that can break fleshy stems and tear large leaves. They’re located where they’ll get just the right amount of sunlight. Because they’re in a pot, there’s no root competition from other plants. The only thing I have to remember – water regularly. I prefer large, tall containers because there’s more room for plants to put down lots of roots and the pots don’t dry out as fast. Big containers also bring the plants up to eye-level for better viewing!  

Just two tuberous begonias fill this container. 

Giant elephant ears (Alocasia ‘Calidora’) and purple oxalis frame an arbor.

Flowers that signal summer’s end are now blooming. Dazzling black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, and coneflowers are taking center stage with their gold and ruby-colored blooms. They’re royalty in the September garden - draped in all their finery. Soon, Jack Frost, cloaked in silence, will pay them a visit. A glorious summer will come to an end and a new magnificent season soon begins.

Multi-stemmed ‘Sunflower, Treasure Mountain Hybrid’ sunflowers

Rudbeckia hirta Rudbeckia, Indian Summer