By Kathy Hogrefe
Sit Back and Relax…
With the dog days of summer upon
us, it’s definitely the season to “stop and smell the roses” as the old saying goes.
That doesn’t mean that there’s still not plenty to do in the garden: weeding (my least favorite
chore), harvesting veggies (a very rewarding task) and refurbishing (a must if you want your gardens to shine all season).
Nonetheless, as cool spring temperatures are but a distant memory, and the warm breezes of early summer are
few and far between, it’s the perfect time to take a much deserved break and simply enjoy the fruits of your labor.
One of my favorite places to unwind is on my deck, particularly sitting on my swing under the pergola. It serves
as a great source of relaxation, lazily swinging back and forth, and offers my favorite view of the surrounding landscape.
Perhaps this is why I spend the most time tending this particular section of garden and, admittedly, let other sections slide
by with minimal maintenance this time of year. Out of sight, out of mind…
cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening, a book or magazine, music or the sounds of nature, sitting
by myself or with a friend, no matter how I am enjoying it, this area of my backyard is my haven. I hope you have a similar
spot in your landscape that allows you to rest and just enjoy the view.
This area is also
conducive to romantic lighting. Hanging sconces with candles, decorative tea light holders and many pillar candles can be
found on my deck. When lit en masse and coupled with the soft glow from solar lights I placed strategically down the path
of my garden, I have quite the magical evening setting. Wind chimes only enhance the setting and add another element—sound—to
August is a great time to take a good hard look at your landscape and decide
what works and what doesn’t, or what could at least use some improvement. Get a notebook and jot down your thoughts
and make a plan to remedy areas that are lacking come fall or next spring.
Of course, this
time of year finds us watering our container gardens often. Despite our best efforts, sometimes some plants just don’t
make it or look horrible by August. As it’s really too late to refurbish with summer annuals, and too early to replace
with fall ones like pansies and decorative kale, I suggest that you pull the “dead” stuff and consolidate containers
which will give you fewer containers, but the ones that remain will look stunning for the rest of the season. And remember,
the best time to water is in the morning, deeply and thoroughly.
Our irises have been done
blooming for several months and even the foliage is looking somewhat ragged now. This makes it the perfect time to dig, divide
and share them.
Now that blackberries and raspberries have been harvested, be sure to remove
old fruiting canes so to encourage new shoots for next year’s delicious berries.
last of the summer vegetables are coming in, so be sure to harvest all ripe vegetables frequently and correctly. Enjoy them
fresh and preserve them for the months to come through canning or freezing. It’s also time to begin planting our fall
vegetables including lettuce, radishes, spinach, and collards. Fall veggie gardens, versus spring ones, need a bit more TLC
when it comes to watering as August and September temperatures are considerably hotter. Setting seeds slightly deeper this
time of year helps a bit as the deeper soil is slightly moister and cooler.
So, take a load
off, sit back, relax and enjoy these lazier days of summer. Fall will be here before you know it!