Things to do this week:
* The Late Show. Many annuals planted now will bloom into fall, so don't feel the opportunity has passed. You can even use annuals to fill holes in the perennial garden, where spring-blooming plants have died or been cut back.
Two of my favorites for this job are gloriosa daisies and the petunia labeled Butter Cream. This petunia has smaller cream-colored flowers that shade toward pale chartreuse at the center. They are a color that seems to go with everything, and can smooth the harsh or hot contrasting colors often found in the summer garden.
Other annuals to plant late that last into fall include alyssum, celosia (especially the nearly wild plume types), cosmos, golden fleece, marigold, portulaca, red or blue bedding sage and vinca. Zinnias love the heat of late summer, but may mildew in fall.
* Early Irrigation. You've probably heard the old garden adage to water early in the day so foliage is dry by evening, which helps prevent disease. Recent research reported in Organic Gardening magazine found that watering in the morning also dramatically cuts down on slug damage, because the slugs that come out at night prefer a moist soil to travel over. Keeping soil dry greatly deters them.