Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's September: time to start working on my summer To Do list!

Well, the calendar has flipped over to September and my conscience is bothering me. I have done almost none of the house and garden chores I had intended (hoped?) to do this summer.

Oh, I can plead lousy weather (true) and family priorities (also true). But the real truth is, I just kept feeling like doing something else on nice days. And now, I'm running out of  "next weeks".  It's time to get moving.
I decided to start with something easy, just to encourage myself. Yesterday, I bundled up three bags of clothes that I never wear or no longer fit. Off they went to the thrift shop. Done! Gosh, that felt good.

Today, while the Handsome Husband did some work at home, I made myself scarce and started to tackle the garden. And oh, it needed it. I didn't take any "before " pictures; it would have been too embarrassing. But after a lot of whacking around with the hedge trimmers, yanking out giant weeds, and trimming back bygone perennials, I was beginning to make some progress.

The pink blossoms, above and below, are turtlehead. They bring a nice last hurrah to the late-summer garden beds and thrive on neglect, thank goodness.

The bees were all over the turtlehead today. The blossoms stay folded up tight, more like a bud, so the bees really have to work to get at the nectar, They burrow right down into the flower and nearly disappear, as below.

In addition to the plentiful bees, there were a lot of dragonflies hanging out today. Still no monarch butterflies, however. Haven't seen a single one yet this year.

The resident chipmunks were busy today, too, but they declined to pose for a photo.

This hasn't been a great gardening year for me. Even my tomatoes haven't been all that wonderful, with many split fruits. This is caused by fluctuating temperatures and water supply, some of which is out of my control.

I was feeling a bit discouraged about my gardening skills until I read blog posts from two area expert gardeners this week. Michele Owens, a Saratoga Springs (NY) gardener who posts at Garden Rant, started her most recent post with this sentence: "It was a sorry tomato season."  Aha, so it wasn't just me and my neglectful ways.

And then there was this, from Ballston Spa author Kerry Mendez's  September newsletter, over at Perennially Yours: "...I blushingly admit that my gardens saw a tad less of my attention, which I’ll blame on some of the crazy weather we’ve experienced this summer." 

OK, I feel better now.

So maybe this late attack on weeds will get me off to a better start next spring. For now, I will enjoy watching the mums and other late bloomers come on in somewhat tidier beds. And September is a lovely time to be outdoors. Win, win.

These two neglected beasts would prefer a vigorous walk to gardening.
Thankfully, the Handsome Husband has finished his work and is going to take them out. As for me, I'm pooped!