Toward the Equinox

sept flowersSummer slides into fall, and the late bloomers are in their glory. How can I not love that? Cosmos and zinnias that were nothing but leaf and stem through July and half of August are bursting with flowers now, and will keep it up until the frost comes. I chose the zinnia seed by color, mostly creams, pinks, and corals. Cosmos turns out to be available in ruffled versions, as well as the classic wide skirt, so I planted them in a variety of shapes and colors – inside the garden fence, because deer can’t be trusted. The bouquets just keep on coming, and now, finally, they are accompanied by some miniature pumpkins. 

herb garden

 The tomatoes and eggplant still roll in, though slowed by fewer hours of sun. In the herb garden, where the deer tread to their disappointment, the cooking sage is out of flower but behind it the white flowers of garlic chives flourish, and blue Russian sage spills over whatever tried to grow behind that.

clematisBut the star of the yard is the clematis. Remember the clematis? Autumn clematis, it’s called, and the photo shows why. The new trellis supports it well, does an excellent job of keeping it off the asparagus, and has room for another year or two of growth, or so I hope.

deer prints

deer footprints

Meanwhile, I walk around the yard looking for perennials in need of dividing, and for places to put a new haul of narcissus bulbs. There are still weeds to pull, too. It’s always a mistake to slack off – attention must be paid. Paying attention always reaps a reward.

Redbud Riot

redbud 3 aWeeding the front garden bed last week, I discovered a redbud sprout several inches tall. I was sure it wasn’t there the week before; but how could it not have been there the week before, and be several inches tall now? Then I went to thin interlopers out of the lamium, and darn if there wasn’t another redbud. I pulled thistles from under a pine tree, and well, look – a whole redbud grove. There was one in the fenced garden. One in the blueberry cages. One against the garage wall. redbud 5They were everywhere. I had never seen this amount of redbud fecundity before. Was it the long, cool spring? The alternating hot/chill summer weather? Had the deer been eating them before and now suddenly had a change of diet? Was it just because this is the strangest year ever?

redbud 2Well, they are beautiful trees. We planted a couple when we moved in here, but little did we know they would generate so many volunteers. If I’m going to have a redbud forest, I thought I should learn something about their care. So I went online. I read that they live 50 to 70 years, and I read that they seldom lived more than 20. I read that they weren’t picky about soil, and I read that they needed soil that drained well. I read that they liked sun and I read that they required shade. Most disturbingly, I read that they were also called Judas Trees. I was dubious, because they’re small and don’t have the kind of structure a person could easily hang himself from. Clearly, at least half of this information was of very poor quality, and naturally this made me doubt all of it.

redbud 4So the redbuds and I are on our own. We will do this without help from the Magical Intertubes, though I am using them to tell you this tale. I plan to pay close attention to what the redbuds are doing out there, encourage those that thrive, and transplant those that don’t. Dream all you want about a garden, if it’s not a fact-based operation it will fail.