Serendipity Gardens: Early, intense heat has brought some casualties

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang


No matter how much I pull weeds, they always seem to multiply. When I return to the gardens the next day you would not know that I had them cleared of weeds the day before. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother pulling those darn things. This year I have hired three sisters to help me in the gardens with weeding since it is impossible for me to get down on my knees, which seems to be the best position for weeding, but we really don’t seem to be making much headway.

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The garden along the driveway has been tilled by hand, weeded and planted with annuals and the day I finished the project it looked great! Two days later all that I could see was weeds everywhere and now they have to remain until the seedlings appear, so we don’t disturb those seeds. You see, I do not use chemicals in my gardens, which also means I do not use Preen to prohibit the growth of weeds. This garden does not get mulched either because the rows are planted quite close together, which prohibits you from walking in it once it is planted. Some of the seeds are sprouting already with the intense heat and early morning waterings, so please don’t stop by and take a look at the gardens because they are a total disaster at this stage. Sometimes I have to forget about the early stages of the gardens and look ahead to the beauty of what they will be come July and it is filled with blooms that hide the weeds loitering about the gardens.

The last week two weeks of May were very hot and I was trying to weed, plant and water all at the same time, which meant some of the tasks really got only lip service as I tried to do all of them. Casualties came in the form of hanging baskets. Even though they were watered at least twice a day they succumbed to the intense heat. So far I have lost two gorgeous fuchsia baskets and at least one calibrachoa basket while two more calibrachoa were moved to hanging under the pergola to get away from the intense sun and heat we had. My spring flowers did not like the heat and decided to bloom only a few days instead of weeks and I didn’t even have time to take many photos of the gardens.

On the bright side, I picked seven cherry tomatoes just before Memorial Day from my plant that already had fruits on it when I purchased it. The two pepper plants also have flowers on them and my mouth waters every time I walk by in anticipation of peppers grilled with steak.

This time of the year is wonderful when we can attend the farmer’s market and take advantage of all the goodies they have available. Green beans are one of my favorites. Even though I have seeds they are not getting planted this year, so I will have to make sure I get some at the markets so I can fix dilled beans with bacon and onions like my grandmother always made when I was a child. It is one of my favorite memories of her cooking these along with her fried chicken and potatoes that were my favorites.

How are your gardens growing this year? We wait all winter for spring to arrive so we can get our hands dirty in the gardens and enjoy our time outside planting and then enjoying the bounty of fruits and vegetables and herbs.

So many childhood memories of my parent’s huge gardens along with fruit trees that provided our food for many months and into the winter with canning all those goodies. Do you have a favorite food that you plant in yours or a memory that goes along with what you planted?

“I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error.” — Sara Stein

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