We’re now coming into what I call the “Dregs of Summer” in the garden. Dregs being what’s left, or, the remnants of… In my experience, this last part of Summer is a tough time to keep things looking fresh in the garden, so I just don’t. I usually put in about as much effort as I do during the rest of the summer (aside from a mid-summer refreshing) and so the result is that about now things will start to get a bit leggy, a bit blown out, or just pain tired. I’m ok with that. I like seeing the different seasons in the garden. On the temperate Coast here, the seasons are stingy with their changes, and the ones we do get are subtle. I try to pay attention to the rhythm of the garden and I don’t try too hard to force things into looking permanently like it’s late Spring or early Summer. (prime-time around here)
August in the garden
I trim things back if they’re in the way (of me or other plants), I keep up with my watering & weeding and I continue to harvest the food we’re growing. Aside from that, I also do a lot of thinking about what to do next- what changes I want to make in the layout of my garden for next year, what plants will need replacing, which ones I want to plant more of or try for the first time, etc. Mostly what I do, though, is wait for the sun to appear so I can go out and enjoy it! As garden seasons go, it’s one of the more relaxing ones.
This past Spring I spread my home-made compost all over my garden and after about three weeks, the soil was thick with tomato seedlings. I then made a mental note to not put tomato seeds into my kitchen waste container. I guess my compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill them, but I’m ok with that… For every 100 tomato seedlings, there appeared one zucchini seedling. “How sweet!”, I thought. “How useful!”, I thought next. I took three of the more robust specimens and planted them on a little hill, watered them lots, and waited. While I was away on vacation, my husband sent me pictures of the garden and THIS is what the “zucchini” looks like! Hmmm… I was fooled. I think it’s baby acorn squash. Can anyone confirm this? (We ate some of them green and they were creamy and delicious!)
For ten months of the year, I’m waiting for this patch of my front garden to look like THIS. After it peaks (July/Aug) it looks a bit bedraggled for about 3 months (Sept/Oct/Nov), before I cut it back. Then I have about three months of trimmed back tidiness (Dec/Jan/Feb) before it starts to ramp up for the year. During this time of growth (Mar/April/May/June) I weed a lot and watch every new leaf and bud with excitement. You might be thinking, “That’s a lot of work and waiting for such a small reward” (or something like that!), but to me, it’s totally worth it. It’s like Lilacs, most of the year they’re either sticks or green bushes, but oh my god, when they’re in bloom, as brief as it is, don’t you just want to smash your face (gently…) into them?? Well, I do and I love my little postage stamp-sized patch of Olea,Lavender, Teuchrium, Thyme and Cerastium (Snow-in-Summer) just as much!
My daughters and I have been grooming this guy for about 2 years now. As topiary creatures go, caterpillars are pretty easy, but It makes us (& our guests) smile!
A while ago (I’m embarrassed at how long) I posted that I was going to do something with all the old, sad and neglected succulents lying about in pots. Well, I finally did it!
First I planted a large urn by my front door with a mixture of plants and mulched with rocks that are similar in color to the plants:
…aaand a close up…
The last part of the project was me potting up some little pots of separate plants. I can’t wait ’til they grow in!
My back garden is anything but “low maintenance”. (I use quotes because that phrase cracks me up- it’s all relative, right?) Just look back through my blog to see what I mean. My front yard, however, was designed to be able to withstand some neglect without making me an embarrassment to the neighbors.
I planted it four years ago and have been slowly shaping the multi-trunked Olive tree- bringing it up off the ground so the Lavender and Teuchrium underneath can have some sun. They’re just starting to fill in and come into bloom. Two days ago I spent about 90 min. squatting under this tree pulling out hundreds of baby weeds, before they set seed. (thank goodness for yoga!) So even my lower maintenance garden takes quite a bit of time, if I want it to look just so…
When I got married last September, my new husband moved into our 800 sq. ft. cottage that was already bursting with the bodies, belongings and energy of three females. He’s managed to shoe horn some of his furniture, knick-knacks and all of his clothing into this home, but I think he still feels like he doesn’t have many places that are just HIS.
Except for one.
He selected and bought this sweet blue chair at the Alameda Antiques Fair and has placed it in the sunniest spot in the garden. I can often find him in the afternoon, sitting here- his feet up on a small bench- reading or snoozing.
Sunny Sitting Spot
Completely surrounding his chair, starting with right in front and moving clock-wise, are Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘Madame Hardy’, ‘Graham Thomas'(on the fence), ‘Tamora’, ‘William Shakespeare’ and ‘Pat Austen’. I fear that in a month or so he won’t be able to find his chair , let alone sit in it!