The Garden Gets Its Second Wind

By the end of July, even the best gardens can begin to look a little haggard, especially when there hasn’t been a steady supply of rain. Leaves curl and dry up, flowers fade and fall to the ground, and the once-fresh and vibrant grasses begin to go to seed. Our stand of ostrich ferns starts looking a little brown around the edges at that time, and only a persistent and dogged watering regime can hold off their inevitable die-back, especially when located in relatively full sun. A perennial sweet pea passed out a while back, so I cut it back ruthlessly. The first flush of hydrangea blooms was pruned away as they began to turn brown.

Yet around this time something wonderful happens. After the lull, and the hint of impending fall, the garden gets a second wind. A spell of thunderstorms soaks the ground, and the nights offer a respite from the oppressive heat.

Annuals that had re-seeded themselves later in the season begin their bloom.

August flowers such as anemone, flowering maple and Rose-of-Sharon come into their own, while a butterfly weed plant puts forth a second show of flowers. Sometimes you’ll even get a second blooming of the Korean lilac, with all its intoxicating perfume.

This flowering renaissance is a renewal of summer, and a reminder that most of September is summer too. Keep blooming.

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