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Give your garden a late-summer makeover30 July 2013
Give your garden a late-summer makeover to spruce up your borders and encourage a second flush of flowers and foliage to take you into the autumn refreshed and raring to go.
Giving a haircut to perennials which flowered earlier in the season often encourages a late burst of flowers. Hardy geraniums respond really well to this: snip back all the top growth from early summer favourites like 'Rozanne', 'Philippe Vapelle' and 'Ann Folkard' to about 5cm above ground and they'll respond with a froth of fresh leaves followed by a riot of colourful blooms to take you well into the first frosts.
Helianthemums and the pretty apple-green ground cover Alchemilla mollis produce lots of new leaves if you cut spent flowers and foliage back hard now, too, so your borders take on that lovely fresh spring-like look.
Tidy up ragged foliage from plants which are past their best now: cut out spent euphorbia flowers, clear away old leaves from irises and remove any unsightly foliage that's been disfigured by disease or munched by pests. While you're at it, give box balls and hedges a light trim and top up mulches to send your garden into late summer and autumn as good as new.