Friday, August 21, 2009

Mid-August Musings

It's hot. I'm busy. Except to water patio pots, and pull a few pilea & sorrel weeds, I haven't spent much time in my precious garden the past few weeks. But that's OK, because a lot of forethought has gone into taking some time off during the dog days. My well-planned and planted perennial garden will do by itself during these times. The garden includes flowering shrubs such as clethra and hydrangea; self-sowing annuals such as perilla, verbena bonariensis, and cleome; and stalwart perennials such as rudbeckia and phlox. The swallowtail, monarchs, skipper, and painted lady butterflies which are drawn to these summer bloomers add movement and grace to the summer garden, even if all I want to do is admire it from inside my air-conditioned home.

As you plan your perennial bed (and we should all be planning, every year), remember to include a few of the hard workers mentioned above. They add easy late-season color, fragrance and interest to the garden of the work-weary gardener.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Rescue Story

There are many inexpensive ways for a gardener to increase her stock. Seed-starting, plant exchange, division, Garden Club plant sales, etc. Another technique I've used successfully is rescuing church plants.

Especially at Easter, but at other times, too, there are apt to be leftover potted plants that once graced the altar. If they're orphans, it might be possible for you to give them a new home. Just ask. Better they should be given a chance in the garden than deposited into the Dumpster.

In this way I've successfully grown on pansies, daffodils, (pass on the tulips; they're not likely to do well) hydrangeas (not always hardy, though), grape hyacinths, and my most spectacular effort, Easter Lilies.

A couple of years in a row, forlorn lilies have been left at my church, Bethel United Methodist, after Easter celebrations. The plants look quite bedraggled after several weeks of sitting in a confining container. But I toted them home, planted in a sunny, well-drained site, and watered well. My reward has been many fragrant blooms on sturdy plants that light up the early July garden.

Now if I can just keep them from the voles!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gardener's Origins

How, when, does one become a gardener? What draws us to the soil, to the creation of beauty, to participation in the never-ending cycle of birth and death and rejuvenation? I'm sure we each have our own stories of how we came to be part of Nature's great garden.

Mine has something to do with being raised in a small town in western New York State. It has something to do with my agrarian ancestors. And it has something to do with being at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York, in the summer of 1969.

My Woodstock story was chosen as a chapter in the recently-issued book, Woodstock Revisited. This month, the 40th anniversary of that signature event, I'll be doing talks and readings on the book and on Woodstock. Look for me at:

Borders Southbury, Saturday, August 1. 2-4

Borders Danbury, Saturday, August 22nd. 2-4

Gunn Library in Washington, CT. Thursday August 27th, 6:30 to 8.

For those of you who remember the 60's, come and reminisce. For those of you you wish you'd been there, come and hear about it from those who were present. And for those of you who are gardeners, come and hear a unique tale of a gardener in the making.