Bye-bye garden blahs, hello new life

late summer 1

Suddenly this summer: the hydrangeas puffed out and the phlox bloomed large, the ‘Karl Foerster’ grasses made themselves known and the echinacea took on a strong supporting role, ending my attack of the summer blahs

One thing I like about the garden in late summer is that it signals the end of the mid-summer blahs, that time when everything looks so awful you wonder why you ever took up gardening in the first place.

In late summer something happens. Suddenly the hydrangeas are huge and gorgeous, like massive white–or chartreuse or pink tinged–bowling balls; the Phlox paniculata is in full glory, and the black-eyed Susans are putting out their cheerful yellow faces by the hundreds. I’ve been trying to banish those Susies from my garden for years, but late every summer they redeem themselves by being a bright spot in a sad-looking garden, and so they have managed to stay.

Almost every gardener I know goes though these annual blahs. Partly it’s us–we’ve spent months planning, buying, planting, weeding, mulching, deadheading, and by early August, we (me, anyway; I should speak only for myself) are tired of it all. I can hardly work up the enthusiasm to turn the compost, which is often the only thing in the garden that’s doing well. Continue reading

Zinnias: my new best friend

 

zinnia raggedy anne

‘Raggedy Anne’ was the first zinnia I grew after years of dismissing them as stiff and garish. Funny how a seed packet can change your attitude.
Photo courtesy of Renee’s Garden

“Grow more zinnias” is at the top of my garden to-do list this year, and who’d have thought? For years, once I’d outgrown my all-colour-all-the-time early gardening stage, I turned my nose up at annuals, especially zinnias, which I considered stiff and garish.

That changed a few seasons ago, after I received a sample packet of  ‘Raggedy Anne’ zinnia seeds from Renee’s Garden in Felton, California. It wasn’t any ordinary seed packet, Continue reading