October marks the true start of autumn and much work for the gardener! It is now a race against time to complete our chores before that first heavy frost. September was a fairly dry month, so watering chores are certainly high on the list, especially for new plantings! Always remember to take a moment and make some notes about your garden. Among other details, take note of what annuals are still looking respectable, which late season vegetables are living up to expectations, and perhaps what woody plants or perennials should be added to enhance the autumn garden for next year!
Blackberry Lily – An Iris for Many Seasons
One of the botanical issues I have recently begun to struggle over is the seemingly endless number of plants undergoing a name change. The changes are certainly understandable since science now allows botanists to evaluate genomes and better align plants with the proper family or genera. Yet, learning new plant names is always a challenge and leads to confusion for both nurseries and gardeners. One plant that has proven to be particularly troublesome is Iris domestica, commonly called Blackberry Lily.
September marks the start of getting the garden – and the gardener – ready for a long winters rest. I know it seems too early to think of winter, but it is time to start planning for winter and the year to come. To this end, consider how best to overwinter and to make room for your favorite non-hardy plants indoors. Fortunately, we still have several months remaining for plants to grow, so there is no rush! Continue to take good notes and pictures on how you weaved together your annuals and tropicals this year, since after the first frost these pictures and memories will be all that remains of this year’s favorite combinations!
Buttonbush – A Plant in Need of Respect
To borrow and slightly adjust a phrase from Mr. Rodney Dangerfield’s comedic repertoire: “Some plants get no respect”! The irony for these belittled or overlooked plants is how many are easily grown, even under challenging conditions and how many are native! Part of the problem lies in the timing of the floral display. Plants blooming outside of the spring rush to garden centers usually do not garner their duly deserved respect.
Finally, the hazy, lazy days of summer have arrived – something many of us longed for during the chilly days last winter! The temperatures are warm and the days are long, yet the rain has been shy to appear! The heat and humidity have certainly returned too, so try to garden during the cooler temperatures of the early mornings and evenings. Keep records on daily temperatures and rainfall, since summers’ heat and night-time temperatures impact a plant as much as winters’ cold. Always remember to wear a big hat, apply ample sunscreen to exposed skin and drink plenty of water while you garden!