We're into the second half of the gardening season. After a cool, rainy spell, we're off to a good start.

Some people complain that they don't have much in bloom in August and September. I can guess the reason: If you do your plant shopping in May and June, you get plants that bloom in May and June. You've got to plan for the second half of the growing season.

Some of the best perennials for this time of year include delicate white Saint Bruno's lily, metallic blue sea holly, old-fashioned tall garden phlox, tall yellow Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne,' and butterfly bush. Keeping the latter two deadheaded keeps them blooming until frost and flocks of butterflies will continue to visit them.

The best investment in tropical plants is with cannas. These bold-leaf beauties multiply each year and aside from their big green, bronze or striped leaves, they are topped by bright flowers in many shades.

"Sunpatiens" is a made-up word for a variety of impatiens that can take full sun than the standard form of impatiens. The older variety is seldom grown anymore due to their susceptibility to downy mildew. The sunpatiens don't have this problem and perform well in sun or partial shade.

'Whopper' begonias are the hardest working plants in the garden. Their flowers are red or pink and their leaves are either green or bronze. They also excel in sun or shade. If you bring them inside in fall, they will bloom all winter in a sunny window. The 'Red Dragon' and 'Pink Dragon' begonias are similar and perform equally well.

There are more waves of flowers yet to come as the late bloomers begin to bud. Stop complaining about your lack of color and go shopping.