A Late Summer Walk Through the Garden

Late August is not when my garden looks its best. The ground is parched, the shrubs look tired. Stressed leaves are falling from the alders as if it is fall already. A lack of water in the Pacific Northwest? Yes- we can have very dry summers and the plants that are used to a regular supply of water are stressed out when they don’t get anything for a couple of months.

I fully admit that I need to make some improvements to extend the flower season. I strive to have a garden that looks good all year round but this time of year it might require breaking the bank by replacing plants with all new annuals. If I listened and learned from Monty Don of Gardener’s World on BBC (and had a greenhouse) I would have been growing my own annuals in pots all summer long so I could replace plants for the cost of a packet of seeds. Lesson learned.

But for now, I shall walk through my garden and admire the flowers that are putting on a last hurrah before fall colors take over. The feel of an early Autumn is in the air. I don’t think we’ll have an extended summer this year. It is also quite dry here in SW Washington. I spend all my time watering the yard by hose or sprinkler. As I stand there with hose in hand, I am getting a really good look at the garden and making mental notes about weeds seen (5 foot blackberry vines appear out of nowhere overnight) plants that are struggling, design plans (i.e. this area needs a burgundy foliage plant,) and projects that need to be added to my to-do list such as staking, labeling, etc. I then have to rush back to a piece of paper and write the mental notes down before I forget them. It’s all part of the aging process…

For now, it is time to sit back with a glass of something summery in hand and enjoy the smell of the clerodendron tree in bloom, the busy hummingbirds flying by, listen to the squirrels stocking up on winter food by throwing fir cones down from atop the tall trees, and enjoy a warm evening dinner outside while I still can.

Dahlia “Hee Haugh” with ornamental grass “Avalanche”
Crocosmia “Solfaterre”
Beautiful white Cosmos pairs beautifully with an ornamental grass
Rose of Sharon “Woodbridge” brings a touch of the tropics to the late summer garden
Clerodendron bungei with fragrant pink blooms and tropical looking foliage.

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