Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Friday, October 2, 2009

Say So-long to Summertime

It was early August when I felt the subtle hint of autumn’s promise. With just that short caress of cool breeze I was instantly transported to a late September Saturday. Armed with trowel, pruners and reluctant slave labor (the four Wise guys - my sons), I eyed my garden to locate the needy perennials long overdue for the touch of steel. The goldfinch had feasted enough on my Echinacea, and the black-eyed susans looked like blackened susans. “Off with their heads!”, I cry to my humorless sons.
“And look how unhappy those daylilies, iris, daisies are all crowded together like that. Surely you can relate to their need for room to grow and mature,” I implore. Eyes were rolling at my attempt to humanize their past comments to a bunch of plants. Between dividing perennials, pulling out weeds, removing spent summer annuals, and adding a nice warm blanket of mulch, we put in a good start to putting our garden to bed for the winter.
“Hey, Mom, remember to let me put down a pre –emergent for those winter weeds,” shouted one the boys. (OK, they would never say something like this but you get the point.) As we wash up our tools I remind my young horticulturists that next week we’ll go pansy and viola shopping to fill in all that empty space we’d just made , and we’ll look for some perennials, trailing pansies, and evergreens to replace our summer container flowers. We might even find some good deals on perennial, shrubs, and trees to add to our little oasis. “Oh, we can sit around tonight and mull over all the bulb catalogs. I need to order those soon so we can get them in the ground in the next two months, ” I speak to an emptied garage.
In my escapist September daydream I had spread the last fertilizer until spring on the lawn. I knew I would be sipping lemonade as I watch my eldest son de-thatch, aerate, and overseed our lawn. We’d spread our Milky Spores to attack the Japanese beetle grubs, circumventing my sons’ plan to dig them up for their own version of “Fear Factor”. Hopefully when we do our light pruning of shrubs the guys will remember the spring bloomers that I gently reminded them not to touch or they wouldn’t eat for a month.
Ever so quickly the breeze shifts and the warm air pushes me back to the sweat and sunburn of summer. Pansies, chrysanthemums, bluest skies, and pumpkins are in reality weeks away for me today. There’s pots that need watering, a Fall Market to plan, next year’s deckbox plugs to order, and the need for a lady with a big hat to check her plants in a friendly place called Westhaven.(



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