Gardening September 2018

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

It is hard to believe that we are now at the end of summer and what an unusual summer it has been for Fishers Islanders with all the heat and humidity! But we were treated to some special horticultural and environmental events by a number of very knowledgeable people. “The Five Seasons: Gardens of Piet Oudolf” was a truly inspirational movie about Oudolf’s naturalistic landscape designs. The F.I. Conservancy’s Nature Day and Parade Ground Walks with Doug Tallamy were also highly educational for all ages.

I attended a wonderful lecture at the Henry L. Ferguson Museum – “Tracking the Natural World Around Us” given by Nathaniel Wheelwright. He has written a very informative book, The Naturalist’s Notebook which encourages all of us to pay attention to our daily environment. No matter where we are – country or city – nature surrounds us and we can record our observations. The date the birds return in the spring, the first snowfall in winter or even what time of year your tomatoes are ripe all can be jotted down.Just start with a couple of things you want to follow. Wheelwright’s book is very helpful and includes pages for you to start recording your observations. Through his own notations on his property in Maine, he has seen that the seasons have definitely changed.

As I look around my garden it appears to be almost burned. The hydrangeas are turning brown and are not their usual wonderful purple. I don’t know if it has been the hot sun or very high humidity that has produced this look. This season started out slowly with very cold temperatures, so I never really caught up with all the late spring – early summer chores before the intense heat arrived. The Queen Anne’s Lace bloomed in our field in July instead of August. We had ripe tomatoes and zucchini in our garden two weeks before normal and they are completely finished now. There are two large pumpkins ready to be picked and I am concerned they won’t last until October! What will be left to enjoy in the garden in the early fall? Luckily the old “workhorse” Sedum Autumn Joy seems to be on a normal schedule and some white fall flowering Anemones look healthy with nice green buds. Salvia ‘Blue Victoria”, along with zinnias, dahlias and snapdragons are all still blooming, so there are some flowers left to pick. Hopefully, the roses will rebound before the summer’s official end in mid-September to spruce up the garden.

Now that it is somewhat cooler, here is a short End of Summer Chore List that might be helpful:

  • Keep weeding and cutting dead flowers and foliage
  • Make a list of changes you might want to make this fall or early spring
  • Transplanting can be done now, as long as you get the hole thoroughly wet before placing the plant and continue watering until you feel the plant is acclimated.
  • Bring houseplants inside once the nighttime temperatures drop into the sixties
  • Make sure they have been hosed off and sprayed with insecticidal soap to get rid of any summer bugs.
  • Order spring bulbs to be planted in October and early November

And if you too have ripe pumpkins in your garden, pick them and soak them briefly in a solution of 1T. Bleach per gallon of water and then place the pumpkin in a dry area undercover. They can be stored at 50 – 60 degrees for ten weeks, but need 50 to 70 % humidity.

Hopefully, my early pumpkins, after this treatment, will make it to Halloween!

Please send us your gardening success pictures and we may use them in a future article!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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