Thursday, September 07, 2017

The Garden in September

September is usually a busy month for us, as it has us aerating, fertilizing, liming, and overseeding the lawn. In addition, I have quite a bit of plants to relocate and we need to rebuild our fire pit too.

We've finally gotten a reprieve from this summer's brutal heat and lack of rain. August started out rough, but turned out to be actually "normal-ish" as far as what to expect weather-wise. So far for this month, it's been a dream and almost "fall-ish" with rainy days and temps even into the 40's at nighttime.

It's a big difference from last September, which was still very hot at this time.

The veggie garden is dwindling down. Most of the tomatoes were taken down and the bush beans are still putting out an impressive harvest. I'm not a fall veggie gardener, with the exception of planting garlic when we want it the following year. It's tempting though, especially when the weather is as nice as it's been these past few weeks.

In fact, I might not grow a veggie garden at all next year, as I would like to focus on developing the perennial gardens on the property.

The back perennial bed has gone rogue with milkweed, which I love. I planted some years ago and it reseeds each spring.

I was tickled to death to see about 10 of these cuties munching away on the milkweed. They are Monarch caterpillars, and by the looks of it, they will be pupating in the next few days. As much as it is important to grow nectar plants for the butterflies, it's even more important to grow host plants for the caterpillars. Without them, the butterflies won't survive. Sadly, Monarch butterflies are now endangered.

I consider my little milkweed patch to be an oasis in a desert. It takes a while for Monarch butterflies to find your "patch" and remember to come back to it each year. Hopefully, this means we will have even more next year!

The hummingbirds have been fierce this year! There must have been 7-10 "squeakers" buzzing around the property this summer. I had to put up 2 extra feeders to lesson the fighting and tension. Let no one tell you these little birds are sweet and timid; they are not! They will fiercely guard food sources and the "hummer wars" can be intense to watch.

They are boldly curious too. Whenever I go out in the yard, it's not uncommon for one of them to come over and check me out by hovering about 2 feet away from me for a few minutes. They are smart and can recognize familiar faces, just like crows and ravens. I think they know I'm the one that brings the good stuff!

Every August/September I look forward to my big patch of perennial begonia blooming. The bees simply adore the flowers and I think they look almost like cherry blossoms.

One thing I am THRILLED to have found recently - not on my property, but down the road from where I live - is Jewelweed. Jewelweed is a plant that is very well known for it's natural ability to lesson the effects of poison ivy, psoriasis, and eczema itching. In fact, it's called "nature's poison ivy remedy".

I've been reading about it recently and how people use it to make soap and salves. It is known to grow all along the east coast and I've desperately wanted to get my hands on some seeds. Imagine how ecstatic I was to have spotted this growing along side a country road on my way to the grocery store last weekend!

I definitely plan to come back with my tick repellent clothes on and harvest some of this for soap and salves.

Elsewhere on our property, we had our tree guys out last weekend to grind-up about 8 tree stumps in the yard. These areas will either be turned into perennial beds or overseeded with grass. It's nice not having to mow around them now.

Summer is over and I am glad. Every fall I look forward to the last mow and tucking everything away for the season. I look forward to having the break and turning my energy elsewhere, which will now be making itch remedy soap!

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