Sunday, August 3, 2014
A Certain Sadness
This time of year presents mixed emotions for those of us who garden. Without notice efforts have shifted from the race to get ready for this year's garden to work directed toward next year. A last flower and a last bud signal the end of the floral display for Gentle Ed. Spent scapes are gone. A few weeds are gone and the mulch is in place to carry this plant across the next two seasons. Those of us who live this far North know all to well the name of that second season. We usually experience our first frost before the end of next month.
Mom's Gatchellville Iris were timely divided and spent the hot days of July with their rhizomes exposed to full sun. I find it hard to believe that this sun scald is good for the plants but it seems to be working. New mulch was pulled away from the base of the iris to keep the sunburn coming. Gatchellville, Pa. is the name of Becky's maternal grandmother's home town. The family has taken these iris with them at every move. They are well traveled and it feels good to maintain family connections.
Anise hyssop is the foreground plant with the purple flowers. Golden stargazer lilies are planted nearby. Native to our Great Plains, Anise hyssop is a fantastic butterfly plant. This morning while looking out of the living room window, I saw a Monarch butterfly feeding on this plant. It was up and working before I had managed to find the door. Anyone interested in trying to help these butterflies survive could include this plant in their efforts. The adults need milkweed as a site for eggs while Anise hyssop serves as a great food source for the fliers.
Cardinal flower is another colorful native that feeds butterflies. This plant has so much going for it that I cannot imagine a garden without it. Sheltered by my stone wall, this plant survived late hard frosts on its own. Now, it is simply a feel good plant. Just look at that red color. The black seeds are on the sweet ciceley. It's native, but we have wild populations growing here because of our actions. It does well among the ancient apple trees that line the steep slope of our kame terrace.
A basket of sun ripened and sun warmed tomatoes will chase away any feelings of sadness. Italian Goliath is the varietal name of the pinkish colored tomatoes. One of them completed my lunchtime BLT sandwich. This is the only time of the year when we eat real bacon. A BLT cannot be made without it and that sandwich is one of the reasons why we grow tomatoes. This is also the only time of the year when we eat fresh tomatoes. Garden fresh has totally turned us off store bought tomatoes.
Lunch dessert consisted of fresh warm black raspberries and vanilla ice cream. This is without question a splendid time of year if one can maintain focus on the present day. Harvest and flowers are what gardening is all about but both signal that an end is near.