This month my gardens and I begin to show signs of slowing down for the season. I actually begin to reap the rewards of my seasonal efforts. The initial efforts in spring preparations, fertilization and simple design re-configurations now give me time to pause and truly appreciate my hard work.
The Joy of the Bloom
August provides an abundance of activity in my gardens. My daylily varieties are slowing down their blooms but rudbeckia, coneflower and tall phlox provide pops of color and texture. A cold hardy hibiscus screams “look at me” in a bed nearby my outdoor seating area. The sedum varieties are now exploding with bloom and setting up their reds and purples to signal autumn is on the way. My late blooming shrubs such as ninebark, hydrangea and summersweet offer texture and interest with a variety of blooms. I enjoy watching the hydrangea transition their bloom colors with each passing week.
Late Season Fragrance
This month’s gardens are not lacking in fragrance. My hydrangea shrubs give off a light soothing scent. Lavender scent is my favorite, so I enjoy running my hands along the plant each time I pass by on the garden path. The strong fragrance of the summersweet gives the impression of an early season garden. This is an underused shrub that provides a surprisingly strong scent this time of year. Placed by an open window on a breezy day the fragrance can enter your indoor space.
Although the sights and smells in my gardens give me tremendous joy, the rewards of the visiting pollinators double my pleasure. The bees and dragonflies have been in residence for weeks. But this month the butterflies arrive in mass. Each day as the sun warms the gardens my butterfly visitors begin their daily dance from bloom to bloom. What a spectacular show! I could sit for hours and watch. Selecting plants that attract and feed the butterflies is important. But it is equally important to offer host plants like the common milkweed for the Monarch caterpillars to feed upon.
Gardening’s Physical Rewards
As I reap the benefits of my gardens in their production and growth, I also find my physical investment in this work provides me with strength, vigor and the positive attitude that keeps me healthy. In our technology laden culture, working your hands in dirt is foreign to many. Remember how you loved the sandbox and Playdough as a kid. That activity helped you develop your sense of of body, coordination and strength. Get your hands dirty. Grab some garden tools and start “diggin”. You will find that joy once again. Our North Country weather is most enjoyable during gardening season. Get out of that air-conditioned house and office. Fill your lungs with some fresh air! Soak up the sun. Winter comes all too quickly here. Save those Bowflex and Peletons for the winter. The garden can be your best physical trainer. Reap the rewards of “diggin in the dirt”.
As always…..keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my garden practices!http://www.gardengoddesssenseandsustainability.com