Deadhead judiciously. Every time I put out a call to deadhead with the purpose of rejuvenating plants, I get a couple of notes from readers to hold my horses. So here’s my revised instruction: Deadhead your annuals, including marigolds, petunias, and zinnias, so that they are forced to put out new flowers and continue to bloom until frost kills them. Many of the perennials, like rudbeckia and echinacea and stuff that gets a big seed head, will not put out a lot of new blooms, and those spent blooms will give the garden some winter interest visually. They also serve as food for birds in the snowy season when not much is available outside of bird feeders.

Stop wasting your basil! Yes I know it is a beautiful plant and the spikes of flowers are interesting to look at, but that’s a plant that really needs to be deadheaded. Because they are growing so profusely in this hot damp weather, you can feel free to cut off the top half of the plants, strip the leaves for drying or pesto, and hang the branches with flower heads upside down until they dry stiff. Then use them as background in flower arrangements where they not only look interesting but smell awesome when brushed against. Then take the leaves, throw them in the blender with some olive oil, and freeze in ice cube trays or those little hamburger patty containers. Wait until after you thaw again to add the garlic, cheese and pine nuts to taste.

Be careful when you mow the lawn. Lots of perennials have been dropping seeds and coming up in the lawn, particularly the rudbeckias and other yellow daisy types. Pluck them up and transplant into the flower bed. Or, like I have done, extend the flower bed outward onto the lawn to encompass these volunteers. Less to mow!

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society ( and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.