Taking time to relax after summer

Published 9:00 am Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blooming sunflowers draw in goldfinch which like to steal away the seeds. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Blooming sunflowers draw in goldfinch which like to steal away the seeds. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Now that the gardens are closed to the public for the season, I am taking some much deserved time to relax in the gardens while I continue to work on them.  My schedule has me going out early and watering, but instead of five hours watering it takes only about three. About half-way through I manage to take some time and sit and see what is going on in the gardens. Instead of fertilizing the containers every Saturday I now only do it every other week and deadheading is done when I have time.

During the summer gardening season I am way too busy to spend much time enjoying the gardens, but now I know that they don’t have to look perfect for visitors and it is my turn to take in all of the activity going on around me. When I fill the bird feeders I try to sit on a bench close to them and see who is visiting. Yesterday I sat on the bench under the large pergola and watched the two hummingbirds chasing each other through the gardens darting high and low and then dive bombing one another. After two years my Major Wheeler honeysuckle is finally blooming and the hummers were enjoying sipping nectar from it.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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Some of the containers that were waning have been emptied out and others have been moved around to other locations. Even some of the garden accents have been moved and now I wonder why I hadn’t done that earlier in the season. The phlox have finished their first flush of blooming, and I have deadheaded them so that they will continue to bloom for a few more weeks. This year I have not filled the hummingbird feeders and they have enjoyed all of the flowers where they sip sweet nectar. As the flowers dwindle later in the month I will need to get sugar water cooked up to put in those feeders. If you don’t have your feeders out now is the time to get them up as soon they will begin their fall migration and you don’t want to miss out on the action and activity at the feeders.

About the only flowers that have not started blooming are the solidago and physotegia, but they will be blooming any day now. Soon I will purchase mums to fill in places where other flowers are done blooming and then it will be time to get some pumpkins to add to the colors of fall in the gardens. This time of the year is so colorful as things start to turn color and other flowers will yellow as they wither away to add even more colors to the gardens.

Roosevelt has found the kittens and they are not thrilled with having a dog chase them around the gardens. Violet has only brought them to the gardens a few times and I am sure it is because there is a dog around. Every day when Roosevelt comes home from his walk he is covered in weeds requiring a bit more grooming. This dog loves flowers and will eat the daisies and lantana out of the cobalt blue container if left on his own. Needless to say I take him out on a leash to do his thing. When John goes to the landfill and Roosevelt rides along he will empty out some of the flowers spreading them all over the van so I always have to remind my husband to put the cover on the container unless he wants to vacuum out the van when he gets home.

The days are getting shorter and soon we will feel a chill in the morning and evening air. We will start to see color in trees, shrubs and flower foliage signs that autumn is just around the corner.  My vegetable garden has been providing me with plenty of tomatoes and green peppers, the strawberry plants have given me fruit to enjoy with breakfast and the herbs that I planted have been used to make herbal tea and make me wish this would continue for the rest of the year.  Many of you have been freezing and canning fruits and vegetables to enjoy over the winter and we can be thankful for all of the bounty our gardens provide or the farmers markets. Next year I would like to do a raised vegetable garden so I can plant even more things to enjoy at the table. Our growing season is so very short here in the Upper Midwest and we really have to enjoy it while we can.


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