The lazy days of summer have come

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 7, 2015

Axminster gold comfrey is an alternative to hosta plants if deer are a problem in your garden. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Axminster gold comfrey is an alternative to hosta plants if deer are a problem in your garden. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Those lazy days of summer are here as the song said, but if you are a gardener they sure can be busy days when we get up at sunrise to go out to the gardens. Although summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21; most people consider summer starting with Memorial Day.  Before long schools are dismissed for summer vacation, the kids are dressed in shorts, tees and flip flops and we all just kind of kick back and relax.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

Soon we will be getting lots of vegetables and fruit from our gardens to share with our family and friends and the gardens will be filled with oh so many colors and fragrances. This year I planted two Toscana strawberry plants so that I can have fresh berries for my cereal every day. The planter sits on the table in the Victorian gazebo to allow them sunshine all day. This variety is great for containers for the patio.

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The other day I finally planted the two tumbling tom tomato plants as I am hoping the temperatures will stay warm now. They are planted on top of my extra water barrel so they should have sun throughout the day. The red beauty sweet pepper also got planted in this same area, but it sits atop a stack of plastic chairs to give it the ultimate amount of sunlight necessary. Unfortunately I didn’t get any green beans planted as I just couldn’t find a place for them. Over the years I have planted them next to the secret garden behind the fence, but with all of the rabbits I have seen this year that just didn’t seem like a good place for them since I can’t see them unless I go out the gate. I know I have rhubarb growing there but I just forget to go back there.

Finally all of my containers are planted. I would have been done last week, but ran out of potting soil and didn’t want to venture out to the garden centers the week before Memorial Day as busy as they were. I have two four-packs of profusion zinnias that will go into the garden. I am waiting to see if the zinnias in the oval garden are going to make it as they sure are sparse so far. If these other zinnias don’t come then I will plant these in that spot.

All of the rose bushes are finally starting to look good so this week I will fertilize them with osmocote and Epsom salt. The three amber flower carpet roses are all doing nicely, and I can’t wait until I see some buds on them. My William Baffin climbing rose has been in my gardens for about 30 years. Every few years I cut it down to the ground to renew it. This spring I have taken off lots of dead canes and new ones are coming, but come fall it looks like I need to do a major cutback to revive it. When it blooms it is covered with hundreds of lovely pink blooms and can really make a statement in the gardens.

Last year I planted axminster gold comfrey after seeing it in several of my gardening magazines as an alternative to hosta if you have a deer problem. I don’t have deer, but I thought that I should expand my gardening horizons and try planting it so that I could tell others who have deer problems about it. This year the one in the front garden is very tall, about three feet. The one in the wildflower garden that doesn’t get as much light or watering is probably two feet tall. Would I recommend them to others? Definitely, but just be aware of the height they can reach.

Another first for me this year is planting herbs. I really am thrilled with my small planter that sits atop the pedestal sink along-side the garage. The fragrances are wonderful and I am hoping to use them in tea for myself.

There is always something to try and learn about and this year for me it is to plant more things I have never had in the gardens. Enjoy this summer and think about trying new plants in your gardens.

“Then followed that beautiful season — summer — filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”  — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at