Buy all the half-price annuals. Nobody wants to take care of potted plants in this heat, so there are lots of 50 percent-off sales happening. Buy up everything that’s pretty, water the heck out of it, and get it in the ground. Dig a hole, water the hole, plant the plant, cover it with soil, and water again. Caution: It’s probably not a good idea to do this in full sun because the plants don’t like the heat any more than we do, especially when their roots are tiny and vulnerable, just out of a pot. Keep these new babies well-watered. And remember that if you lose less than half of 'em, you’ll still come out ahead.

Now take a vacation. Stop planting for a few weeks. Continue to weed, water, and mulch, but take a break once you get those last sale plants in the ground.

Dry herbs on your dashboard. Or your backseat. Because your car is already a mess, might as well take advantage of all that sunny real estate and spread your herbs out to dry. I lay down dark-colored place mats under them because white reflects too much off the glass when you’re driving. (Dry herbs that don’t look suspicious, so as not to tempt people to steal them.)

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.