Riding the wave

Autumn blooming crocus (Colchicum autumnale) at the Bosquet entranceIt almost looks like we could ride this heat wave straight into fall. The Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) have been dropping bright red tokens since mid-July; the scent of ripe grapes hovers on whatever little breeze we can catch; the autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) are emerging from the ivy (a good 2 weeks earlier than last year); the dreaded schoolbus yellow is not only present in the gardens (black and brown-eyed Susans have been blooming since mid-July) but is suddenly on our roads too. While part of me is crying uncle! because of this summer’s relentless heat, the other part of me is nowhere near ready to let go. It can’t possibly already be September, can it?

Despite the fact that we’ve actually had an extra long and hot summer season, it still feels to me as if it only just started. In one way, that’s a little bit true. The gardens here – especially the Display Garden – are reaching their peak now. And barring some sort of natural disaster (Earl, step away from the gardens!) or the early frost that I’ve been pessimistically predicting since the daffodils came early, summer will be stunning for quite a while yet.

Dahlia 'Teasbrooke Redeye' in the North Garden But first we’ve got to ride the wave. Gail and I are trying to get as much deadheading and weeding done in the gardens as we can first thing in the morning before copious sweat makes the sunglasses slide off our noses (we’ve given the volunteers a reprieve this week). And we’re keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Earl and family. Forecasters keep saying we’re in for it this year but we’ve got all fingers and toes crossed. – If that doesn’t work to fend off a hurricane, I don’t know what will.

Potting shed and greenhouse - overlooking the Display GardenMeanwhile, this is the best time for Gail and me to look over the gardens and make our annual assessments. We’ve grown plenty of plants worthy of rave reviews, put together a few winning combinations, and had our share of head-scratcher disappointments. All of which need to be documented (stay tuned). And of course we’re already kicking around ideas for next year’s gardens…

Gomphocarpus physocarpus a.k.a. Asclepias physocarpus 'Oscar' already making seed podsMelinis nerviglumis 'Savannah' - pink paintbrush grass and agava - a favorite comboSalvia van houttii 'Dancing Flame' - a cool combo with tiger eye sumac

Have you started taking notes about this season (and next) – or have you been keeping track all along? Have you let go of summer?

6 thoughts on “Riding the wave

  1. I’ve said it to a few people — I can’t say I’m ready for winter yet, but I’m SO ready for fall. Early fall, at least. Rain and cooler temps, please! Preferably not in hurricane form.

    My favorite part of gardening is planting and moving things around, and I just don’t do that in July or August, This year, things I planted in May hardly had time to get established before drought set in. I’ve got some special plants to move to cooler, less dry spots or risk losing them to another season like this, and I’m chomping at the bit.

    The upshot of this season and last (the opposite) is that I’ve got a great short list of plants that did well in both. I’m betting you do too.

    Andrew, after meeting you – cool as a cucumber – as I melted away on one of the hottest days this summer, I have to say I’m surprised that you’re been bothered by the heat. It’s all about the garden, isn’t it? I’m with you – itching to start moving stuff around. I’ll look forward to seeing what matches on our survivor short lists – and what doesn’t! -kris

  2. Yes, I’ve noticed the sweet smell of grapes as I poke along the streets of Bristol during this, my favorite time of year, late summer!! And my husband was smitten by that Savannah grass in your photo. We admired how beautiful it looked when we visited Blithwold last week. The gardens there look amazing. Thank you.

    Jean, Thank you! This is Gail’s favorite time of year too – and I’d say it’s mine but then I can never decide on a favorite… In case you want to try it, I’m pretty sure we bought the pink paintbrush grass seed from Park’s… -kris

  3. Your gardens all looked pristine and not weary at all especially after this past hot, dry, August. I did notice that very pretty mum like dahlia in the north garden. I hope all is well and Earl decides to party farther out to sea.

    Thanks, Layanee! I’m so glad I got to see you yesterday. I’ll bet the dahlia that caught your eye was ‘Bode’ – it’s a swirling beauty. -kris

  4. You’re riding the heat wave and I’m riding the wet wave. About 45 days of consecutive rain. As for summer, I’m ready for it to be done if it means a drier fall.

    Christine in Alaska

    Christine, I wish we could have traded some of our heat (though you might not have wanted it) for a little of your rain. I feel for you – did you ever get a summer? (I’m pretty sure the last time you commented, it was still snowing… was that May or June?) -kris

  5. I love, love, love that Melinis! I have to grow that next year – and yes, I’ve already written its name into my garden notebook. I’ve filled two and a half 80-page journals this summer with all that I’ve learned. It’s been an exciting summer. Now I need to get my potted plants into the ground so they’ll survive the winter.

    Kira, good for you for keeping such good notes! I never write as much down as I should – I think I’ll remember all the good ideas – and then I get really frustrated when I’ve forgotten them. Good luck with the planting – at least it has cooled off! – kris

  6. I’ve been thinking it since mid-August. It all came early, so why shouldn’t the cold, too? And now, on the last day of summer, the Joe Pye are all gone by & browned up! WTF?

    Lynn, I know it. I’m a little nervous about the coming winter… -kris

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