Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Seasonal Adjustments

Almost without notice our focus in the garden has shifted.  Planning for the current garden is long past and we are now looking forward to next season.  For me the major excitement is starting seeds, dividing perennials and planning where to place them.  Many Winter hours are spent reading catalogs. Harvest should be a time of joy if the crops are abundant, but it also clearly signals an end to the process.

These Dakota Rose potatoes are both beautiful and numerous this year.  We mail order our seed from the Potato Garden.  By the time our order is processed, most of the country has their potatoes in the ground.  I prefer to plant whole small potatoes.  This year our order arrived when requested and consisted of numerous small seed potatoes as requested.  The metal basket contains the harvest from only three hills.  Pound for pound this has to be a record crop.  Good luck and frequent rainfall are no doubt the key factors here.

Our nursery bed has allowed these mail order day lilies to put on good growth over the past two or three years.  Nearly all of the flower stalks have been removed as have the dead leaves.  I always manage to miss a few.  We will move these plants to a more spacious final location come Spring.  It is highly likely that new mail order plants will refill this nursery bed.

The weeks of bright blossoms, many with sweet scents, were a source of grand enjoyment.  The flowers were wonderful but now they are gone.  That is the name of the game but somehow sadness with the season's passing is close by.

This nameless plant produced many light yellow scented flowers.  We took a division from it earlier this year and placed it near the wall in the garden down by the road.  The newly separated plant flowered in its new and likely final location.  Driving the road toward home, we saw the flowers rising  above the wall.  The scene was impressive with the plant mostly hidden behind the wall.

Here, the plant is close to Mammoth Pink Chrysanthemums.  This combination should work well together.  If the day lily were planted behind the chrysanthemums it would appear that the combination was better planned.

Somehow our days have come to be one hour shorter than previously.  Sunlight streaming through the bedroom window formerly had us up and active by 6 am.  Now we are lucky to roll out by 7 am.  This is just another in a collection of seasonal adjustments.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You Have To Look Past The Crabgrass

Coming upon the end of August, there is a great deal of beauty and success  in the garden, but you have to see past the crabgrass.  The many rainy days this summer have made the plants and flowers grow.  Included in that is the plants and flowers of weeds.  Worse than that are the seeds of weeds.  I have a long list of hated weeds crab grass, mare's tail, French weed, quack grass,sedge, ragweed,... and I really hate it when they go to seed.  When I get out to the garden I can lose all track of time.  Every weed with seeds that I pull gives me a great feeling. At least I know those seeds will not get to drop in my garden bed.   I load my trug  then take them back to the place where we are putting the pernicious stuff. It's hard to walk through the garden without a handful of weeds. Sometimes by the time I get back to the spot where I was working, my trug is already half full of weeds.

All this sound tedious to some I suppose, but I love to pick a spot and go after them. It feels fantastic to look where you have been and see them gone!  When I take a break and look up , the sky is a glorious blue.  The pink hollyhocks are climbing for the clouds.  Sometimes you see a hawk circle. Often the hummingbirds whiz past your head .  I think they do it for fun.  Butterflies and hummingbird moths look for flower nectar.  Dragonflies look for bugs.  For such a quiet place there is a whole lot going on all the time.

The red hibiscus are just beginning to open.  Even with so many flowers finishing their summer bloom period we have late bloomers yet to come.  Yes, there is a Japanese beetle inside the flower.  I tried to catch him, but he got away.  We have had too many Japanese beetles this year. I used to hate to  kill anything, but I have grown to know the enjoyment  of my gloved hands squeezing mating beetles into a brown pulp.  I accidentally discovered that Japanese beetles that have been eating red bee balm  make a red pulp.  I'll be back to find out if hibiscus has the same effect.

I know I'll never get all the weeds, or all of the Japanese beetles, but I make a little progress every time I go out there.  It feels so good!