Despite the fact that we had to deal with unbearable heat this summer, the fact that it’s coming to an end and we are transitioning into the fall is inspiring an unsettling feeling, a feeling to which perhaps only a gardener can relate. Though there is a definite sense of relief not to have to plan the day around yard work, just about every year, it still seems to take a little while to shift the mental gears.
The end of summer, nevertheless, is a great time to look at things in perspective and to make notes of the successes and failures and the lessons learnt thereby. The most interesting piece of information I gathered this year, as I was fussing about our pepper plants not setting any fruit, is that significant pollination fails to occur when temperatures climb above a certain point, as ours did this summer. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to see our balloon flower, a perennial, tough out the heat and drought and put forth a second flush of blooms upon being pruned when the first batch of flowers faded. Finding so many flowers on just one plant this late in the season is surely exciting.
Speaking of excitement, most garden centers will soon be buzzing with fall activities where we not only get to meet experts in various fields, but can take advantage of peak selection of spring-blooming bulbs, trees and shrubs for fall planting. Regardless of the number of plants one has in the garden, it always is fun to try something new.
For those who like to gather seeds for future use, there are plenty of opportunities to do so now, or, one can leave the seed pods intact on the plants for winter interest and to make fall decorations. Also, some of the perennials can soon be divided for transplanting or to take to the next plant exchange event.
While our patience is indeed tested, summer has a certain charm which is hard to match; one of the things I love most about this time of the year is the abundance of fresh produce available at local farmers markets, thus I miss the season once it is over. But, like an old, trusted friend, summer never fails to return!