The month of August is bittersweet.
This year summer evolves especially fast. Spring was long and cool, delaying daffodil bloom long enough to sell cut stems at the April farmers market.
By mid-May temperatures were in the 90’s, heavy rains fell, then the high humidity set in. Despite this challenging conditions, the peony harvest was especially abundant in May; over 600 stems were sold at market, necessitating the purchase of an additional refrigerator for the basement.
I did enjoy four days of respite at P Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm outside Little Rock, Arkansas. During the growing season, I tiptoe out of my gardens to catch a flight to this gardener’s dream land as a guest, only to return a few days later to a needy garden…”weed me, harvest me, plant me, mow me, feed me, dig me…”
And now it is August. Both heirloom tiger lilies and Davidii phlox bloom cycles are finished and spent stems are removed. The lush Oakleaf hydrangea bloom is merely a memory. Why? It seems, we gardeners wait with such anticipation for bloom time, only to have it pass seemingly overnight…every season.
Generous rains produced stunning, abundant blooms this season on the spiraea, hellebore, and Lemon lilies.
Delayed are the two main 2015 outdoor projects: the oil stain project of the new 90′ privacy fence (both sides) and the necessary reconditioning of the terrace masonry wall.
Are any of you considering home ownership? This post will be a reality check for you. Since buying this place back in 2001, the projects both large and small, inside and out, are endless. Some days/years I think I am making progress, others, I think I am in a rapid backslide…
Wild birds bring much relief and beauty on a daily basis to my gardens. This year I am hosting hummingbirds, and they come in droves for their plain sugar-water fix and enjoy sips from the Crocosmia.
I feed numerous other wild birds here at Swallowtail Cottage, yet the Bluebirds chose not to nest here again this year. They come in to feed, and I hear their song whilst gardening, yet only a pair of black cap chickadees occupied the BB boxes this season while either a titmouse or carolina wren raised young in the wren box.
So begins August here in central Virginia. I expect the arborist later this month for our annual chore of topping/shearing the Leyland cypress hedges; I will be glad to see the bagworms vanish into the chipper.
Queen Ann’s Lace, hyssop, cleome, hostas, and roses continue to color the landscape as summer winds down for another season. Butterflies nectar on the verbena and Joe Pye Weed. Fat cucumbers dangle from the arched cattle panels, while sweet basil, tomatoes, hot peppers, kale and herbs fill the raised beds. Soon I will harvest my first crop of Lilliput melons, as they meander across the lower butterfly garden. 2015 has been an abundant growing season. Full of edibles, friends, happy memories, and hard work.
And soon, yes soon I will breathe a bit easier; I will sleep a wee bit longer as garden/market chores lighten. As biting insects depart, when there is a chill in the crisp air, I will once again enjoy my lower patio and reflect on another year as a homeowner/gardener.
Did you know that we will lose one hour of daylight in August? While I am still the busy bee today, the planet continues its orbit. Our gardens respond, and indeed so do we. Best now to consider the color of this year’s flannel sheets, while continuing to mow, weed those persistent invasives, and get a handle on those unfinished outdoor projects…
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