New Boston gardener: serious fixer-upper questions

New Boston gardener: serious fixer-upper questions

Hey everybody, It's been a busy day in this community, so I hope you'll have time for one more: I just moved to Boston from NYC, and I'm very excited to have things like space, air, and a backyard available to me. The building I moved into (a 3-story house, each floor with its own apartment) has a backyard and a little bit of space for plants in front, but it looks like nobody's touched the yard for YEARS. It's overgrown with weeds and tall grass, there are rocks and bits of trash everywhere, the garden bed areas are virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding yard, the topsoil in both is dry and depleted, it looks and feels like a hybrid of shredded cardboard and sand (digging a little deeper it gets healthier, though). The landlord gave me the go-ahead to do more or less whatever I wanted with it (clearly nobody else is!), so I'm building a little 4'x4' herb patch (raised bed) in one corner, and I'm going to do my best to rehabilitate the yard itself and get it looking like something that's *not* about to be overrun with buffalo/dinosaurs/whatever. But most importantly, the edges of the yard have little garden areas that would look a lot less depressing with some flowers. So my question to you guys is: are there any late-season annuals that I could get away with planting right now? I'd love for it to look at least semi-nice before it freezes here. Also, any suggestions from you plant-savvy folk on the general rehabilitation of the soil/yard area would be much appreciated. It's been a while since I've had any outdoor space to work with. I'm about 85% sure I'm in zone 6b, if it helps. Thanks for whatever advice you guys can give!
Shifting Hybrid Teas

Shifting Hybrid Teas

some of the lilies i spoke of yesterday :)

some of the lilies i spoke of yesterday :)

Pretty Mums

Pretty Mums

Quick sanity check…

Quick sanity check…

Weed ID Please

Weed ID Please

Zone-6  a question of leaf identification.

Zone-6 a question of leaf identification.