Labor Day is approaching, but don’t give up on your garden

trumpet vine on arbor
A trumpet vine in bloom cascades over an arbor leading to a seating area. The trumpet vine is just one of the plants providing late summer interest in the backyard of Patti Zander and Bob Van Hise in the City of Tonawanda. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

It’s September, a time when some gardeners give up on their gardens. But not Patti Zander and Bob Van Hise, who shared their gardens during the City of Tonawanda Garden Walk on Aug. 22.

“Oh, I would never give up on my gardens!” Zander said. “We just live for summer. As long as things are alive, we’re out here watering and deadheading.” They have three rain barrels to help keep them supplied with water.

No garden walk has ever been held in late August before. The City of Tonawanda Garden Walk was rescheduled because of the pandemic, but there is an upside to the new date.

“You get to see things that you wouldn’t see in July,” Zander said.

northern magnolia buds
Patti Zander’s magnolia tree had buds in late August. The hybrid is suited for northern climates. At her previous home, the tree had already reached seven feet in height, but she loves it so much she paid $200 to have it moved to her new home. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

She plants mostly perennials. Here is a list of some of the plants in her very full gardens:

  • Kiss-me-over-the-garden gate. (It self-seeds, so it comes back every year, but it may not come up where you think it will, she said.)
  • Joe-pye weed. (Zander said she tries to use some natives.)
  • Swamp milkweed
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’
  • Coneflower
  • Hibiscus
  • Delphinium
  • Many different lilies
  • Clematis
  • Trumpet vine
  • Wisteria
  • Sedum
  • Iris
  • Blanket flower
  • Late-season allium
  • Hollyhock
  • Daisy
  • Hosta
  • Ferns
  • Myrtle
  • Northern magnolia tree
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Not everything is in bloom now, but ferns and the foliage of perennials provide a lovely backdrop for plants that are flowering now. Bright paint on the hardscapes as well as colorful ornaments add interest as well.

late-season allium and more in garden
The round, purple flowers in front are late-season allium– many allium plants bloom in spring. You can also see hollyhocks, coneflowers, ferns and more in this garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
blue bottles, painted allium and other garden ornaments
Ferns grow in this shady area, with garden ornaments adding color. She takes all the garden ornaments inside for winter. The flowers in the center of the photo are spring allium that Patti Zander spray painted when the blooms faded. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
raspberries in kayak
Raspberries can get out of control and take over the entire garden, Patti Zander said, so she put an old kayak to good use. The kayak contains the plants and won’t break the way a planter would. Notice the waterfall in back. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
quirky garden signs
Quirky signs created by Bob Van Hise add charm to the backyard. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
annuals along driveway
Annuals can add flowers, color and interest when perennials are past their prime. A series of containers lines the walkway to the backyard. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
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2 Comments on “Labor Day is approaching, but don’t give up on your garden

  1. I love this garden. But I have a question regarding the trumpet vine. I have 2 trumpet vines about 20 feet apart. One took about 3 to 4 years before it bloomed and the other is very full of green branches but has never had even the slight sign of buds. Is this normal or am I doing something wrong? These vines are located in WNY near the PA state line if that makes a difference. Thank you for your help

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