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Goodbye August. Hello Fall.

Goodbye August. Hello Fall. While we love the summer landscape, we are excited to welcome all the beautiful plants that fall brings us. The weather is cooling off and that means welcoming football, tailgates, fairs and fall festivities. With fall comes the blooming of cooler weather annuals and show-stopping cool weather perennials. The garden enters a new season with a rush of rustic colors!

Here are a few things to do around the garden this month:

In the Garden:

  • Plant cool weather annuals like Dianthus, Ornamental Peppers, Mums and Asters.
  • Set out perennial ornamental grasses.
  • Divide perennials such as peonies and irises.
  • Plant trees or shrubs so they will be established for next year’s hot summer.
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth, or Crocuses.

For the Edibles:

  • Plan your winter garden.
  • Prepare the soil for root and cool season cole crops.
  • Plant Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels, Sprouts, Cabbage and Lettuces.
  • Put in a crop of fresh herbs like Parsley, Dill, Cilantro and Rosemary.

For the Lawn:

  • Apply Fall Weed Prevention Kit.
  • Apply McDonald’s Premium Grass Seed and Fertilize.
  • Stop by any McDonald location for a complimentary Fall Grass Classes beginning September 13 through October 18. Every Saturday at 11am!

Home Decorating:

  • Groom, dust, mist and feed indoor plants.
  • Think about how you will decorate for fall.
  • Pull out Halloween decorations and look at creative ways to use them or add to them.
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An Early Autumn Stunner

MABEL WHITE MUM

Mums, or chrysanthemums, are the quintessential fall bloom. These perennials, with their colorful domes of yellow, lavender, burgundy, white and pink are an early fall superstar. With a tight mounded growth habit, mums are stunning in bloom and perfect for mass plantings. They also look great as a stand alone in a container.

One of our favorite varieties this season is Mabel White - with its perfectly rounded shape and countless blooms! With white blooms in early September, this stunner can freshen up summer containers and offer some bloom power that will take you from the dog days of summer well into fall. Great in full sun and partial shade flower beds. We like using in containers, hanging baskets, large pots or urns or even try planting in a bushel basket for a seasonal look. Soil should be moist, but never wet and check daily while the weather is warm. As it starts to cool down in temperature, you will not need to water as often.

We recommend making sure that you buy mums just as they start to break bud. This way you can maximize the bloom time. And, to keep the blooms coming, we recommend regularly pinching back spent blooms.

What’s a Gardner to Do?

SOLUTIONS TO LAWN WEEDS

August lawns are right in the middle of the dog days of summer – the hot and humid month. This month, gardeners will start to see the grass growing slower and the weeds growing faster. You may think your lawn care work is over for the season, but the truth is late summer and early fall is one of the most important times for lawn care. It's this time of year when warm days are followed by chilly, dewy evenings that encourage weed growth. The best time to get ahead of winter lawn weeds is now. So, if you take the time to care for your lawn properly during the early fall, it will have a better chance to be healthier when it begins to grow again the following spring. And remember, fescue season is upon us, so be sure to stop in and have one of our lawn experts give you tips on how to maintain and establish a lush fescue lawn using our special fescue mix that is designed specifically for Hampton Roads lawns. Here are our recommendations on some of the best products to beat weeds:

Weed Control for Warm Season Lawns

Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer - controls over 200 broadleaf weeds including Dandelion, Chickweed, Clover, Spurge, Wild Onion, Dollar Weed, Ground Ivy and many others listed.

Atrazine Weed Killer (32 oz) - controls Henbit, Dollarweed, Chickweed, Clover, Sandspur and others listed on label. Controls both emerged weeds and weeds from seed in St. Augustine and Centipede grass.

Application Rates:
5 teaspoons per quart covers 100 sq. ft.
4.3 ozs per gallon covers 500 sq. ft.

Weed Control for Cool Season Lawns

Weed-out with Q (New Formulation. Proven Performance) - controls over 200 weeds - both grassy and broadleaf in one easy step including Crabgrass, Barnyardgrass, Foxtail, Black-Eyed Susan, Buttercup, Catnip, Chickweed, Dandelion, Dollarweed, Ground Ivy, Jimsonweed. Morning Glory, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Ragweed, Sunflower, Thistle, and other broadleaf weeds.

NOTE: DO NOT APPLY WEED OUT W/Q TO ST. AUGUSTINE LAWNS AND IT IS RECOMMENDED TO SPRAY Fescue lawns WHEN TEMPS DO NOT EXCEED 90 DEGREES.

McDonald Lawn Tips:
To help your grass beat the heat and reduce lawn maintenance, keep your lawn mower blade on the highest setting and mow no more then once a week.

The taller the grass the cooler the roots will stay and the less weeds you will have.

Always use spreader sticker when putting down weed control products, it makes your spray twice as strong.

Spray for weeds in between mows, never spray immediately before or after a mow.

Spray on calm and sunny days, with no rain in the forecast for 4-5 hours.

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Difficult to Pronounce... but Easy to Grow

AGASTACHE

Looking for easy, colorful flowers that come back year after year?! Agastache is a versatile, colorful and pleasantly fragrant perennial that will give you that pop of color you are looking for in late summer through autumn.

Commonly known as either Hummingbird Mint or Anise Hyssop (due to its licorice scent), this tough perennial thrives in dry conditions and requires very little maintenance except for an occasional trim to remove old flower stems and encourage new growth & flowering. The fragrant foliage and flowers attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and gardeners alike.

Best of all, Agastache colorful flowers to the garden in late summer and early autumn when many gardens are winding down and color is lacking. Its long-lasting flowers come in shades of pink, apricot, and lavender and are deal for sunny beds & borders, in containers, herb gardens and around pools and patios. The flowers also look fantastic in cut flower arrangements. Agastache prefers full sun and is a must-have perennial for wildlife gardening. Be sure to check out some of these gorgeous new varieties:

Raspberry Summer - raspberry pink, tubular flowers accompanied by bright green, fragrant foliage that blooms late summer into fall. Ideal as a feature in a sunny spot or container.

Blue Boa - beautiful, new perennial variety that offers bright, purple flower spikes that bloom summer through fall. Plant in mass to create a vibrant, long blooming spot in your garden.

Summer Sunset - warm, sunset-orange flowers compliment the deep green foliage. This aromatic hummingbird mint has an upright and compact habit that blooms from June through fall.

Summer Glow - lemon custard flowers seem to glow against the deep green foliage. Drought tolerant this perennial will bloom all summer long.

Get this look!

DO-IT-YOURSELF SUCCULENT JAR

What plant is easy to grow, hard to kill and can be planted anywhere? Answer: Succulents.

You are probably familiar with one of the most famous succulent groups - Cacti or a cactus. They have thick, fleshy leaves that store water and are easy to grow, require bright sunlight and very little water - just like other succulents and sedums. We love all types of plants in this group, as they are possibly be one of the most versatile plants on the globe. They have shallow roots, can survive without a great deal of water and love not a lot of care. They can even thrive on drought like conditions. Succulents come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. And, look good in bloom or not. Try your hand at a succulent garden in a strawberry. Leave the natural terracotta or paint the pot to add interest. Let’s get started:

What You'll Need:

  • Strawberry Jar
  • Soil
  • Assorted Succulents
  • Paints and Brushes or other Decorative items

Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the strawberry jar up to the top with potting soil and then start planting your sedums and succulents in the holes. We recommend starting at the bottom and working your way up. Once all of the sides are planted, choose something for the top. Remember you don’t need to water often as succulents and sedums are drought tolerant.

Some of our Favorite Succulents & Sedums:

Lemon Coral Sedum - This attractive sedum forms a fine textured carpet of golden yellow. In the winter, the foliage may be a coral, reddish, orange color. It will add a fine texture and color and is a trailing plant to form a cascading drape over a pot.

Sempervivum (hens & chicks) - Hens & chicks are mat-forming succulents that produce clusters of rosettes. The parent rosettes are the “hens,” and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the “chicks”. This low-growing perennial spreads quickly. Foliage can be red, green or some mixture thereof.

Sedum (stonecrop) - one of the most beautiful of all sedums with pink or rosy-red flowers produced abundantly in flat clusters; blooms open in late summer and remain in bloom several months.

Tools of the Trade

GREAT GARDENS START WITH GREAT TOOLS.

Now is the perfect time to stock up on fall tools like rakes and pruners. The right tools make creating and maintaining your yard easier and faster and you really only need a handful of tools to handle the most common lawn and garden maintenance. Be sure to check out our complete line of economical Terra VerdeTools in stores now. Here are a few must-have garden tools to help you be successful and efficient in maintaining your garden:

Felco Pruners - You can't go wrong with these top-of-the-line pruners that provide awesome cutting power and precision -- making gardening chores a whole lot easier. Pruners are ideal for removing small dead and unwanted branches from trees and shrubs. All Felco pruners have two blades: one very sharp and is known as the cutting blade. The other is not sharp and is called the anvil blade or hook. These pruners will last a life time and feature a lifetime warranty.

Bypass Loppers - a must-have for anyone with a landscape full of trees and shrubs. The long handle give you an extended reach to prune higher branches and provides you leverage, so you can prune branches up to 2" in diameter, depending on the lopper. The long blades make it easier to do those larger cuts and are perfect for cutting branches, vines and for pruning and shaping.

Hand Trowel - one of the most important tools in the gardener shed whether you’re digging up weeds or planting new plants. Ideal for planting small plants like herbs and vegetables, making container gardens and digging out weeds. Also good for mixing soil with compost, fertilizer and other additives.

Spring Back Rake - features a long handle with a flexible metal rake head. The rake head is made of flexible metal tines arranged into a fan shape. Tine ends angle slight downward to grab leaves easily. Great for cleaning up leaves, small branches, lawn clippings, spreading mulch.

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Seeing Red!

RED HEAD PENNISETUM

A popular landscaping element, perennial grasses offer seasons of interest and movement to the garden. Fountain grasses are perennials that grow to form a mound. With cascading leaves, these attractive grasses will form a clump making a great mass planting. We also love using them individually as a specimen plants in containers. Their foliage will arch towards the ground like a fountain - thus the name "fountain grass".

A McDonald Garden Center favorite is Red Head. The soft, smoky pink flower spikes appear in mid to late summer and as its name suggests it will produce red, feather-like plumes in early September. We love planting this beauty in mass and in containers. The plants will remain attractive into winter. This plant will tolerant some drought and is salt resistant. It is also great in areas where the deer population is high as it is deer resistant. Try pairing Red Head with other late summer favorites such as zinnias, coreopsis, daylilies and agastache.

Go Ornamental

Think grass is just for your lawn? Try using ornamental grasses in containers and in your landscape to add a whole new dimension to your outdoor space. Ornamental grasses add two important elements to the garden experience that are not readily obtained from many other plants: MOVEMENT and SOUND - not to mention they are super stylish as well.

And, did you know ornamental grasses:

...require little effort to maintain.
...come in many heights, colors, textures.
...seed heads and foliage add stunning fall and winter interest.
...can be used as thriller plants in containers, and as vertical design elements in the landscape.

So, go ornamental in your landscape for instant drama!

Get this look!

DO-IT-YOURSELF KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

Growing your own herbs is easy and rewarding. And, just because we are knocking on fall’s door doesn't mean you can have to give up fresh herbs for cooking. Fresh herbs are easy to grow indoors and as many chefs know, can mean the difference between a good dish and an extraordinary dish! Once you begin to use fresh herbs in your favorite recipes, you'll never want go back to using just dried herbs again. Try an growing an indoor herb garden to keep your favorite herbs right at your fingertips.

Here's what you need:

  • Container with drainage holes. We recommend our 3-set of galvanized containers with a tray that will fit perfectly in your kitchen windowsill.
  • Soil
  • Assorted Herbs
  • Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the containers halfway with potting soil and then start planting your herbs in the hole. Fill up the rest of the pot with dirt. And, remember to water. Voila – just that easy for fresh, homegrown herbs!

Our Favorite Herbs:
Here's a list of our favorite herbs for a basic kitchen garden. This is just a start, as there are many other herbs to experiment with in your garden that will add bold flavor. Cooking with herbs can be fun and you can’t make a mistake - so be creative and savor the flavor.

Basil - With lots of varieties to choose from, this king of the herbs offers something for every palette. While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes that are true to their name like: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil.

Parsley - Use this herb for the mild flavor it adds to a savory dish and for the coloring it adds as a garnish.

Sage - This is a must-have herb for seasoning any poultry dish. It has a slight peppery flavor and is best used on meats in a marinade but is also good in stuffing and sauces. We also love Pineapple Sage which is great in pitchers of water to offer flavor.

Rosemary - Rosemary is best used to season fish and seafood products, but it is also a great seasoning for grilled meats, lamb and potatoes. Try Barbeque Rosemary to use as skewers on the grill.... a real crowd pleaser!

Thyme - This is the basic herb used in dishes from all over the world including French, Italian, Indian, Greek and Spanish cuisines. Use thyme on lamb, meats, poultry, soups and stews.

Oregano - This classic culinary herb is one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide. Use in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The flavor is strong enough to stand up to bold flavors like tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef. We love the Hot & Spicy Oregano in pasta sauces.

Dill - This easy to grow herb is a member of the parsley family. Cut often to keep producing. Dill pairs well with fish and is used for pickling, to flavor salads and in soups.

Mint - Is a beautiful herb that has one of the most recognizable aromas. Spearmint and peppermint are the most popular types of mint, but more unusual varieties like Mint Chocolate are available. Use in drinks, or simply gather a small bunch to offer aroma for a room.

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It's a pineapple...it's a lily...it's a Pineapple Lily!

THE PINEAPPLE LILY

Make a statement with Pineapple Lillies in your summer garden. These exotic summer blooms are available in several different varieties, ranging in colors of pale green, purple, white, pinks and burgundy. Two of our favorites are 'Twinkle Stars' and 'Sparkling Rosy'. The plant has a base rosette of long lance-shaped leaves. It's flowers are on a long spike, topped with a tuft of smaller leaves. These leaves and the appearance of the flower spike make the flower head look like a pineapple, thus it's name.

Pineapple Lilies grow from bulbs. They may be planted directly in the ground or in pots. They grow best in a well-drained, fertile, sandy soil. Use a mixture of sandy loam, well-rotted manure, and sand. If the soil is not well drained, the bulbs will rot, especially in the winter. Protect the bulbs with one to two inches of mulch in the winter months and they will return each summer in July.

Water the plants well once they are planted. Pineapple lilies need constant moisture in the summer. Cut back on watering in the winter, as too much water will cause the bulbs to rot. A dressing of compost will help keep the soil fertile.

Pineapple lilies will tolerate a partly shady area in the garden. However, they bloom best when they get at least 6 hours of sun per day. Give them midday shade, though, as they may wilt if exposed to the noonday sun. If they wilt, water them quickly and thoroughly and they should perk up again.

Pineapple lilies start to form flower buds in July and reach their peak in August, filling your garden with tall spikes of colorful and exotic flowers! And, these gorgeous blooms make a super attractive, long-lasting cut flower.