Friday, August 8, 2008

Taking Stock

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

Not sure of the exact moment when the line is crossed from ‘Abundance’ to ‘Overwhelming’, nevertheless, it happens.

It is often during these dog days of summer our gardens appear to be out of control.

Gardeners are cursed with selective memory. We tend to forget how full our gardens can be during the height of the season. Allow me to digress………

When the season was young, we were full of energy, low on patience. Empty spaces left us feeling, well, empty. In defiance we rebelled against planting instructions that called for 18” spacing. Victory shined on our dirt-streaked face as we estimated 10 inches. No sooner had the new plants taken hold when the perennials installed 3 years ago filled up and out as on steroids. Today we are faced with Turtleheads and Monkshood going shoulder-to-shoulder while Foxglove and Phlox flounder. Black-eyed Susans and Veronica vie for attention.

Even I, who appreciates bodacious plantings and voluptuous beds, can agree that too much of a good thing can be, well, too much.

As a ‘professional’, August has become the month I acquire the most new clients. When the season is new, most are enthused to work their gardens, weed, prune, move, redesign, and plant. Enthusiasm wanes, weeds flourish, plants flop, bedlam prevails, and those who wanted to take care of their beds themselves feel overpowered by the jungle of greenery and blooms.

August may not be the best time to divide, move, and/or transplant. The weather is too hot, often too dry, and will unduly stress plants and the humans that love them. I’m not saying it cannot be done, however if at all possible wait until late fall, or early spring as may be appropriate. Who am I kidding? We will do what we will. If something is being choked and/or not able to be seen, then by all means, cut back or move what ever is in the way. A plants life just may be at stake.

Not up to doing this now? Prefer to wait? Congratulations! However, you’re not getting off that easy; it is time to take stock.

Walk around your landscape with your journal, pen, and digital camera. Step back; look at your landscape with the eye of a visitor. What is it that you see? How would you react if seeing it for the first time?

Look for empty pockets, or crowding. Is there evidence of, mildew or fungus? How about pest damage? What about color, too much, not enough? If you are just not ‘loving’ something, jot it down.
Love everything in your garden? Pleased with the results? Do not put that camera or journal away. Record the pleasures.

In any case, you’ve worked hard. Pour yourself another glass of Ice Tea and relax…………..

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