Harvest Proceeds

b tomatoesNo sign of the woodchuck the whole last month. Was it the repellent spray? The tunnel flood? The vinegar? Maybe all of them? There’s no more havoc in the garden, and damage outside it is clearly the work of deer, who leave a ragged edge on anything they chomp. Woodchuck and rabbit  teeth cut cleanly.

b garlic chivesThe harvest, unmolested, continues to roll in, but there’s at least one change I’m making for next year. The garlic chives have been pretty effective at keeping deer from eating the phlox, but have spread so much they seem to have choked out the shastas. And they are currently going to seed. I need to pull some of those. Soon.

b gourd vineThe mini pumpkins and gourds are fun, because after their slow start they leap out of the raised beds and travel in a most amusing fashion. The blueberries are all gone by the time random gourds barricade the nets, so no conflict there.

b marigolds 1One of the things I loved about marigolds as a child was harvesting their seeds. This is a task especially suited to small children’s hands.

b marigolds 2Once the flower has dried on the stem, the whole seedhead breaks off cleanly with a satisfying snap.

b marigolds 3Pull off the bits of dried orangey brown petals, and the fluff that comes with them leaves a nice clump of feathered seeds. I used to just put them in a paper envelope, but now I use an empty spice jar, since I usually have some around. But the envelope worked fine.

b green poinsettiasGardeners in Ann Arbor used to bring their tender plants indoors over the Labor Day weekend and some still do out of habit, but average first frost here is now October 15, with a spread from 10% on September 30 to 10% on October 30. My poinsettia plants, moribund indoors by last May, have flourished once again on my deck this summer; the geraniums and jasmine, too. All of them need to come in before a frost, which means I need to clear out a lot of floorspace indoors, in front of windows for them. I’m working on it.


b tomaotesAugust is a very rewarding time in my garden. The tomatoes, yellow squash, cosmos, and zinnias are rolling in, the weeds have slowed down, and the little pumpkins that seemed so reluctant to emerge are finally showing themselves.

b punkins too

Diseases have been dealt with, win or lose, and by the end of the month – now – anything that wants to die can go right ahead. Too late to agonize. I really never understood the “we made it!” joy of harvest festivals until I started growing food.

b cosmosWe had a big, windy storm a few days ago, which knocked my tall flowers over. Sunny days followed, and the cosmos needed only one day’s sunshine to right themselves to a jaunty angle. They nod gracefully in my flower arrangements.

b vase flowers

The cosmos and zinnias are beautiful in the garden, but the reason I grow them is to make my flower arrangements.

b more flowers


There’s a Dutch tradition of flower paintings in which the brief lives of blossoms are meant as a reminder of mortality.

b flowersBut to me zinnias and cosmos in September, budding even to the last morning before frost, are signposts of strength and  beauty persisting into age. Fear not, and persevere.