From Dennis Patton:
Wow, what a summer. I don’t know if this will be one for the record books but by a gardener’s standards it just cannot get much better than this. I think I watered my lawn twice all summer and some parts of my perennial garden didn’t even get a supplemental drink of water. I cannot remember such a summer. As Oliver Twist stated, “Please sir, I want some more.” That’s how I feel about this summer.
This past weekend I just felt the need to get outside and do something in the garden. While it still looks great and there are many late season blooms, I was able to find a few chores that will help me prepare for next year.
No matter how hard we try, weeds still pop up here and there. If you follow my writings you know I am a big fan of mulch. My garden is almost always blanketed by a 2 to 3 inch covering of organic mulch. As we know, it provides so many wonderful benefits such as conserving moisture, controlling weeds and helping to keep the soil cool. But no matter how much I try to prevent them, weeds still appear.
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Now is a great time to get out in the garden and search out the weeds, especially the annuals. Annual weeds are loaded with seeds just waiting to drop to the ground and sprout next year only to make the problems more severe. Hidden among my plants was crabgrass, spotted spurge and a few others. It was such a great feeling to yank them out and discard. I think I smiled each time I shoved their seed-laden heads into the sack.
Unfortunately, I also have some perennial weeds that are not so simple. Thanks to a former neighbor who allowed perennial honeyvine milkweed to grow, I have this sprouting up all over the garden. Perennials are so much more difficult to control. Honeyvine milkweed is a host plant for the Monarch. Seems like every time I get in the mood to rip it out I find them feeding. This good-hearted environmental steward just cannot seem to kill the innocent larvae, which means I leave the vines which means they only get a stronger foothold in the garden. After a frost these will be pulled to start the process of garden clean up.
While in the garden I did not just focus on the chores, I also took time to stop and smell the roses. Due to the nice weather the garden still had much color. Along with the roses I was able to enjoy crape myrtle, hosta flower scapes, butterfly bush, blue mist spirea and the last of the panicle hydrangeas, to name a few. A few mums were just starting to open, for even more color yet to come.
Even though fall is arriving this week it does not mean the season is over. There are still chores to accomplish and time to enjoy the fruits of my labors. Gardening, as we know, is such an enjoyable hobby that feeds our body, mind and soul. Take advantage of the waning days of 2014’s nearly perfect season and take in the nourishment before winter arrives. I know it sure helped me clear my mind.