Many people enjoy and claim they welcome the coming of autumn. I want to make it clear that I do not, and although the last few days have been a little too hot and dry for my taste, I would much prefer the relief of a summertime cloudburst rather than any farewell to summer eulogy. So I guess what I want is just a few more days of denial before I’m forced to admit the season is breaking down.
The tomatoes of summer are still going strong even with their new neighbors the fall chrysanthemums.
After a promising start to the summer August went dry and for the past forty days we’ve barely cracked the 1/4 inch mark for rainfall. With high temperatures, thin soil, drying winds, and full sun the life was sucked out of a garden which had been almost carefree at the start of the summer. With a nice rain today we’ll see how fast things bounce back. My guess is it will be a much faster turnaround than the last two summers when things REALLY dried out to a crisp.
One patch of watered soil ready for fall planting. Hopefully cool weather will soon allow for a few broccoli and cauliflower transplants.
In spite of the heat a few things still look nice. The tropical garden got a few minutes with the hose, and that seems to have been enough to keep it from death. I love the colors right now with the purple verbena bonariensis, dark red dahlias, and peach colored salvia splendens filling the bed.
A little orange from ‘Tropicanna’ canna goes a long way in brightening up the late summer salvia, verbena and dahlias.
With the grass dried up to a crispy beige the stronger reds, oranges, and purples really stand out. I don’t think a bed full of lavenders, whites, and pale pinks would be as eye catching…. which I’m going to say is a good thing, since in this world of gray and tan I can use as much eye catching and hold-on-to-life color as I can get!
End of summer color from dahlia ‘Mathew Alan’. As usual the dahlias could use some dead heading.
Even up front a little bold color is a nice thing. The border along the house foundation has a few spots of color from the ‘Masquerade’ peppers I planted out this spring. The true type has purple peppers changing to yellow, orange, and red while a few oddball plants started right off with pale yellow and are now going through the same sunset effect.
‘Masquerade’ peppers from seed with all the fescue clumps I divided up this spring. I finally like this bed… but we’ll see how I can mess it up next year 🙂
Along the street is another story. Even with a few emergency waterings things look end of summer tired.
To water or not to water, that is the question. Obviously I chose the latter, but the ‘Karl Forster’ feather reed grass, sedums, and perovskia are still holding on.
I did give the ‘Limelight’ hydrangea a little soaking, but a few water lovers such as the ‘Golden sunshine’ willow will need a good bit of water before they look anything close to happy again.
I think this border will need a little trimming out of dead things once the rains soak in. No big deal though, a little fall cleanup will carry it on through the next few months.
There are still a few bright spots. Even in the harsh midday sun kniphofia ‘Ember Glow’ looks nice. It could be a little taller but the size actually works well with the peppers and coleus (please ignore the dead rudbeckias and dying zinnias).
Red hot poker (Kniphofia) with peppers and a surprisingly sun and drought resistant coleus. I wasn’t sure if the poker would ever bloom this year but I guess it’s a later cultivar.
Until the garden bounces back the best thing to do is spend more time in the shade, seated with cold beverage in hand. I can ignore the weeds and dead lawn quite successfully on the back deck.
This is a late summer view, not autumn. I’ll keep that delusion up until the first frosts threaten!
Even with a good soaking the lawnmower will still likely be on vacation for another week or two. I’m ok with that. I hope the soil takes in the rain, the plants come back, and I can finally use something other than a pickaxe to dig a hole. Maybe then I’ll start thinking about things like fall while I’m taking care of a little late summer transplanting and bulb planting 🙂