CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This is one of those weeks. In my column, like in my yard, I have to catch up. At home, I'm still watering, watering, watering and weeding, weeding, weeding. There are irises to split and a few perennials to move, and the final houseplants are ready to come in for the winter.
Speaking of irises and fall, there's a collection of irises in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens that bloom in June and then again in August-September. They are available from White Flower Farm, (800) 420-2852 or www.whiteflowerfarm.com.
Most tall bearded irises take a rest in the summer, but these will continue to flower throughout the season. A collection of six is pricey at $59 plus nearly $18 shipping - but with two seasons of bloom, they seem worth the expense.
I saw a beautiful fall planter recently that used not only the typical mums and pansies, but also beautiful, colorful and edible Swiss chard. I believe the variety was Beta vulgaris 'Bright Lights,' and it added a great vertical element to the planter.
Another great tip was passed along to me recently. A friend said she uses her turkey baster to change the dirty water in her flower vases. She sucks up the old liquid, dumps it, and then refills her vase with a long-necked watering can.
I'm not pruning right now; it tends to encourage new growth and that's not what I want at this point in the garden. I'll save that for very early spring.
Recently, I asked for suggestions to help rid our gardens of slugs. Bobbi Galloway writes: "I have many, many hostas and I have battled them for years. I use the following organic mixture to kill the slugs and it has worked the best of anything else I have used:
1 pound of brown sugar