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This & That from Steve



                                                           Musings on Summer

Boy, were you as surprised as was I when the weatherman announced that the summer of 2014 should be spoken of in the past tense?  Oh, yes, it does feel and look a lot like autumn alright.  Poison ivy leaves are taking on attractive tints,  heavy dew marks the morning lawn, closing the bedroom windows at night feels comfortable, a flannel shirt makes sense for at least the first few hours of the new day and we've had to scrape frost off the car windows on an occasion or two (why we couldn't get the car into the garage for the evening is another story altogether).         
Though there's no question that fall is teasing us with its first tentative indications, the puzzle remains, how did summer fly by without a warning?  I know it was only yesterday we were enjoying Bluebells and Tulips, Lilacs and Lily Of The Valley.  Now it's suddenly near time to hang up garden tools and hoses for yet another year.

How about you - didn't you think the landscape was unusually delightful this season?  Oh, yes, spring seemed (no, it didn't seem, it was) endlessly cold and wet, and our tomato crop most certainly wouldn't have garnered any State Fair ribbons.  Other than that, what's to complain about?  The mosquito population was scant.  Ample and well-timed rains meant that that garden hose didn't get much of a workout ( ok, ok, so the ample and well-timed rains had area lakes at all-time high high water marks and did mean we had to mow the lawn every three days).  We've never seen so many dragonflies and hummingbirds and didn't monarchs and fireflies seem to make a comeback (ok, ok, so the rabbit population was off the charts as well, taking its toll on favored garden plants). Bloom on many perennials - Balloon flower and Phlox come immediately to mind - was prolonged well into autumn.  Japanese beetles weren't as abundant as in past years, and was it only two days that topped 90 degrees? Nice, very nice.

We were faced with disappointments, sure.  Isn't that the nature of nature?  For instance, spring revealed major plant losses.  In our case, make that losses of major plants.  At the nursery, 70 year old yews, grand old landmarks, possessed not a trace of life as weather warmed in May.  Juniper and boxwood suffered as well.  Spring bloom on Redbuds, Lilacs, and Magnolias was lackluster at best.  Weeds took advantage of that nasty spring, quickly getting out of hand.  

With the new season comes new hopes, a reinvigorated desire to push forward in the garden, and a diminished weed population.  Thank Heaven!!




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