Flower gardens in late summer in my part of the world can be likened to a slightly overripe peach: they are a little too juicy and softer than you would prefer.
They are, as Shakepeare's wrote, "too much of a good thing"....
Bring them back from sweet excess by judicious pruning. 'Judicious' is the operative word here, but above all, PRUNE AWAY!
Of course, pruning purists would be aghast that I say to prune the forsythia now (you will be forsaking their spring flowers) but sometimes you just have to get things under control!
Anyway, I am pruning back and deadheading many flowering annuals, perennials and deciduous shrubs right now. Here are some tips:
Pruning Tip #1 - Get yourself a good quality pair of pruning shears. I love Felco #2 OR #6. This cast aluminum hand pruner is my pride and joy and I have lost just one set (which upset me no end).....
they are expensive so ask for one for the holidays - a great gift!
Pruning Tip #2 - Know the difference between Pruning and Deadheading...Pruning is cutting and deadheading is the removal of spent blooms to encourage another flush of flowers within the same season. Do them both right now. Roses are very appreciative of deadheading.
Tip #3 - Timing
Most plants go into hibernation in the winter and stop growing. For deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves), their dormant period is usually the best time to prune.
However for many perennials and shrubs you can prune at various points during the year depending upon which they are. Most plants respond well to any type of gentle pruning and will be hurt only when extreme pruning has taken place.
Obviously, adverse weather conditions - whether it be hot or cold - is not a good time to prune but watering and an app. of compost tea or similar can be a quick pick me up.... late summer / early autumn is a good time to prune and cut back and deadhead...