Introduce some fall color. Trees in Pennsylvania are known for their color, but many shrubs give just as sensational a show without taking up as much room or shading a small garden. Virginia sweetspires, Itea virginica, is a favorite, with brilliant red/pink/orange foliage that hangs in there until December - not to mention its fragrant white flower spikes in early summer that are an absolute freeway for butterflies and other pollinators. "Henry's Garnet" has larger flowers and brighter colors, but the native species are no slouches, either. Although they all prefer damp feet, these shrubs are tolerant of most soils.

Plant perennials. The markets are flooded with mums and asters now, and they are beautiful - just what we need to fill in where the heat killed off all the annuals. Plant them or leave them in the pots and move them around, fooling your friends into thinking you have many more than you actually do.

Enjoy the pope's visit. I would be remiss if I didn't mention this momentous event. I give you words offered up by Pope Pius XII in 1946 to the farmers of Rome: "May your lands be rich in grain and cattle and an abundance of all things . . . Be adaptable, attentive, and active stewards of your native soil, which is to be used but never exploited." Words to live by.

Sally McCabe is senior manager of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society ( and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestone