Summer has crested. It's still 85 and humid, but little drifts of leaves are starting to accumulate in wind protected nooks and hollows. So far it's mostly grape and bur oaks, not enough to take a rake to, but a harbinger of what's coming a page down the calendar. There are not many perennials blooming, an occasional rose or two, but the garden is overflowing with lush green growth. It's a continuing process of hacking back some plants and encouraging others. Most perennials only bloom for a couple of weeks. It has taken me most of a lifetime to see past the flashy flowers and anchor my garden with plants that have foliage that will carry them, that can justify their existence without the flowers. (There has to be some analogy about women tucked in there.) So I'm relying on the annuals, little more than so much colored hay, to carry me through until the Fall flowers - asters, sedums and mums kick in for the final show, along with a few roses that will bloom again in the coolness of autumn.
Late summer is weed time. I've spent the last week doing some serious weeding, pulling up a bumper crop of tree seedlings which have been gaining tap roots while lurking beneath the foliage. I usually put down a layer of mulch down in Fall to help control the weeds, not because it's the ideal time, but because that's when the stores look at the pallets of mulch still left and have blow out sales. It is amazing, my little postage stamp of a garden ate 22 bags of mulch and was still hungry for more. I have my eyes on some bags of river rock too. I'm waiting for them to be a little more motivated before I pull my financial trigger. When I stopped to pick up groceries a couple of days ago they were putting out buckets of Sweet Autumn Clematis. I didn't buy any ... yet, mostly because they caught me off-guard. I did plant them in my imagination later while I was sitting on the bench smoking a maduro. Maybe. A little weedy, but you can never have too many clematis. One of the local nurserys also has a weeping Siberian pea tree, Caragana arborescens pendula, that I have eyed for two years. It's grafted as a small tree so it is a little pricey. The manager says she is NOT going to overwinter it again this year and she'll give me a call with an offer I can't refuse if it's still there in a month. I'm praying for the recession to hold for one more month. Unfortunately, I think I'm safe.