The morning haze and temperatures in the mid-fifties indicates that it is indeed mid-September! But, how can that be since it was only a few weeks ago that the soil was warm enough to seed zinnias and plant out tomatoes? At least that’s how it feels. I don’t think that any summer has gone so quickly as this one. So let’s do a bit of catching up, because I’ve been a terrible correspondent.
First of all, the area where the “Big Dig” took place last spring has filled in acceptably. It needs tweaking of course, but it hasn’t been the eyesore I expected and dreaded. Some low catmints were added along the sidewalk, and more blue salvias. Hopefully those will all come back next spring. Some “Crystal Beauty” celosia were planted in this area just to be isolated from other celosias so the seed can be harvested. Glad I did that, because that variety isn’t listed in the new catalog for the coming year! And, I do like it. Nice straight stems; a creamy fan with just a blush of apricot/soft orange across the ruffly top. It goes so nicely with lots of other things, like the “Queen Lime Orange” zinnias and a couple of peachy dahlias, talinum, etc.
Next, the glads. The battle with thrips was fought all summer, and although I won a few skirmishes, they won the war. Of the 800 planted, maybe 100 were harvested and usable in bouquets. Now I’m worried that they will winter over in the soil and attack any number of crops next year. Apparently they are very fond of peas. Only the bulbs planted behind the blackberry row were okay. All those planted later in the potager were UGLY!
The Growing Kindness Project has been a joy/trial/rewarding/draining. It seemed when there were lots of flowers, there were few names, so I just randomly gave bouquets away to strangers or people in the hospital parking lot, nursing homes, harried workers, etc. When there were few flowers, I was inundated with names of struggling people. I’ve learned a lot about my community in the process. And, I’ve learned a LOT about growing flowers for cutting. What fun that has been, and actually making the bouquets is so satisfying for my creative side. I admit to falling into the “pressure” of producing … feeling that if every flower wasn’t harvested and delivered I was somehow failing. Finally a couple of weeks ago, I told myself sternly that no flower was really wasted because the bees, butterflies, beneficial wasps, hummingbirds, moths, birds and ME were enjoying them!!! And, happily there have been people in the community that stepped forward to help deliver, because that is really the time-consuming part. The lonely shut-ins want me to stay and visit; the frail are very slow to answer the door so patience is required. Sometimes it takes two or three visits to find someone at home. I spent a lot more time on the road than I wanted. Peeling labels off water and soda bottles and cutting their tops off fills any “tv” watching time, but even that is rather satisfying.
I baked pies all week for the 4-H fair, and that was fun. I also made all the floral arrangements for the Ladies Afternoon Tea, and also for the “Bee Bash” event just a week or so ago, where I was also the featured speaker. Yes, I’m doing more speaking again so that has taken some chunks of time to take photos, produce the Power Point presentations, and actually go to the events. And, I joined a Home Extension Club which has also turned out to be more time-consuming that I expected, but I’m enjoying that as well.
So, my focus on flowers this year did not mean that there were no veggies or melons, etc. There were plenty, but it may surprise you that given my propensity for record-keeping in great detail, nothing was weighed or noted! But, we had plenty to eat and still gave produce away occasionally. Even the Bloom Journal has big gaps, sigh!
Currently, there are still bouquets to make and deliver but the flowers are slowing down except for the dahlias. I should have made more succession plantings of zinnias and sunflowers, and between the thrips and cucumber beetles a lot of flowers right now are not usuable. Lots of clean-up and dead-heading is going on now, as well as plans for the fall bulb plantings. Yes, I’ve ordered more than 2,000 more bulbs…lots and lots more daffodils because those early spring bouquets were so easy and fun, and because I really like them and more tulips for cutting. Next year, the potager will be 2/3 flowers and 1/3 food. The big Geo seed order has already arrived and there will be some new flowers to fill in bloom time gaps, and more of certain colors to go with this or that. We can talk about all that later.
So, still alive and very well. We finally got some rain last week and that has lifted everyone’s spirits. The area crops look surprisingly good despite the lack of rain. My mother is doing well…busy canning tomatoes and freezing lima beans and freezer slaw, and keeping all her gardens weed-free and pretty…at almost 97! Hopefully, it won’t be so long before I write again. Thanks for being patient! Hugs!