Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lazy Days in the Garden

'There is a brief time in July when the gardener has nothing to do but enjoy his flowers. Oh, there may be a few  things, like tying in the dahlias, discreetly staking the chrysanthemums, picking off the dead water lilies, keeping an eye on the roses for black spot, soaking the azaleas and camellias, cutting the grass, tying in the huge new canes of climbing rose, and like that.' -- Henry Mitchell, in The Essential Earthman

I appreciate that passage from one of Henry Mitchell's books, The Essential Earthman. These hot and humid days in July are really easy times in the garden,  with not that much to do except pull the occasional weed, do some deadheading, and maybe cut back some perennials like (perennial) geraniums. It's nice things work out that way because it is just too hot to be working outside these days. And everything is so lush right now, because we have had plenty of rain so far this year, unusual for us it seems.

However, for a garden blogger, it's not easy to come up with things to write about right now. Real life sometimes interferes with my garden and photo routines, with travels, moving children, out of town guests,  chaos at work. But this is a good time to sit back and enjoy the garden, especially in the cooler evenings with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and a friend or two. I also like to sit back and try to look at my garden objectively, to see what needs improving, what could be moved, what I could change. There's always something.

And then there is the fragrance. The other night as I was walking past my garden I was stopped short by such strong fragrance and realized it was all my phlox-- 'Miss Lingard,' 'David,' 'Franz Schubert,' and a few other varieties. I was mesmerized by the scent, not wanting to leave it. I wanted to get a chair and sit right in the middle of it. On a hot humid evening it was so strong and lovely and surprising.

'But by and large it is a time of leisure, different from the panic of the great fall planting season and free from that sense of frantic tidying up that afflicts the spring.  If you have planned ahead, in fact, this respite can last even into August and Steptember. A garden planned for late August (and for January as well) will give the greatest pleasure, because spring and early sumer tend to take care of themselves. Even a little thought for these too neglected months will go far in keeping the gardener from uttering and snapping. But the average gardener pays too little attention to August and September, and it may be safely said that the average garden goes to pot on July 16 as regular as clockwork.'

I'll have to be attentive and see how my garden fares on July 16!

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