Apparently it’s September. Every time I look at the calendar it kind of surprises me that the year can fly by so quickly but really? September? It’s becoming harder and harder to convince myself that summer won’t end.
The view of the vegetable garden (aka Potager) in early September.
Many people consider September to be an autumn month. I’m going to assume you know where I stand on that theory. I bet those same people consider the vegetable garden to be the most appropriate place for growing vegetables, and not a catch-all spot for all the flowers and shrubs which couldn’t fit into the regular borders and beds. Neat, productive, raised beds bursting with produce are nice enough, but at this time of year I love the flowery, seedy look of a vegetable garden gone wild, even with all the overgrowth, bugs, and mildew 🙂
A sign of the season. The bold colors say summer but the seed pods and overgrown vines say autumn. A big spiderweb even sets it up for a halloween look. In case you’re wondering these are some ‘Cannova Rose’ seedlings which I started this spring just to see how they turn out. I think it was a success!
There were a few things which did manage to come out of the potager which were worth eating. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and loads of zucchini all somehow managed to find enough room to produce a harvest, as well as a meager crop of onions. The onions looked so promising in April, but I think they just wanted more sun.
I was so close to wasting this space on corn. Instead I bought a few ears at the farmstand and filled the bed with sunflower seedlings which were weeded out from other parts of the garden. ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranths seedlings became a convenient complement to the sunflowers when I forgot to weed them out after the garlic was harvested.
Now the garden is mostly given over to the annuals which I rip out so religiously in May, but always seem to overlook in June. The verbena, persicaria, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums quickly take advantage of the opening and I’m always happy to see them thrive.
Of course there had to be a few bulbs in here and there as well. When I crawled in under the sunflowers I found the colchicum x agrippinum patch in full bloom. I’m a big fan of these late summer bloomers.
I do have plenty of flowering things which were planted on purpose as well. The colchicums (autumn crocus, naked ladies, meadow saffron) are looking great right now and I can’t help but show a few pictures. Actually I’m sure you’ll see more pictures in a later post. For some reason the vegetable beds are where I’ve planted most of them, and even though the companion plantings are haphazard, the flowers themselves are very convenient to admire when planted out this way.
Colchicum speciosum surrounded by mildewed phlox and verbena. A fresh flower in the middle of all that decay is always such a treat.
Although I planted a few bulbs on purpose (if you can call it that when you’re wandering around with a plant and a trowel and no forethought to where it would go when you bought it) those plants are in the minority. The most spectacular things invited themselves.
The marigold border and a gifted zinnia were the plan (thanks Kimberley!) and the peppers were the purpose, but the perfection came from self sown verbenas and the intense blue of Browallia americana.
Up until June I pull out every last ‘Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate’ seedling (Persicaria orientalis). Their 6+ feet of rapid, vigorous growth tends to intimidate the lettuce but eventually a few are overlooked and before I know it I’m ducking under the dangling chains of dark pink flowers every time I do the garden rounds.
Persicaria orientalis towering over the failed onion bed. For the record purslane and crabgrass had more to do with the underwhelming onion harvest than one too many flower seedlings 😉
The last thing to thrill me in the veggie patch are chrysanthemums. I love how they and the colchicums wrap up summer around here.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record with the seeding out thing (assuming people still remember what broken records sound like) but even this chrysanthemum came on its own. I guess that’s what barren soil and general neglect can do… plus the weeding out of nastier things of course. I love the color and big flowers 🙂
The back beds of the potager have the worst soil and get the least attention. During most summers even the weeds struggle to take root since the soil crusts up and most seedlings can’t even get a root down before they die… except for quack grass (similar to couch grass). I spent a few sweat filled summer afternoons tracing back grass roots and sifting soil, trying to get every last shoot. Of course I didn’t but at least it’s one battle in this war where I took the upper hand.
This is the chrysanthemum which started it all. A seed exchange packet of “collected from ‘Innocence'” survived drought and flood and freeze and still looks great. It does need a Chelsea chop in June to control floppiness, but that’s all.
My neighbor put in some excellently neat and tidy raised beds this spring which grew some beautiful beets and salad and armloads of other produce. His vegetables know their place and his flowers are neatly nestled into orderly mulch beds which surround the house. My wife was very impressed. I have to admit I liked it as well but just don’t know if I can give up this spontaneous jungle. Time will tell.
My apologies for not having shown any vegetables in this vegetable garden update.