When I walked outside just a little bit ago, I was stopped dead in my tracks by what I heard. For the first time this summer, I heard cicadas buzzing. Or chirruping. Or singing. Or whatever it is they do. It used to be said around here that when you heard the cicadas, it was six weeks until frost. But time has taught me that just isn't true.
Tomorrow is July 4th, and I always feel like when the 4th gets here, summer is half over. It's not, by the calendar, but in terms of the garden it's probably not that far off.
I'm getting to the point where I'm not as enamored with certain things in the garden anymore. When things first start growing and blooming, I cherish every petal and leaf that appears. Then when things get a bit overgrown, I get disgusted with their messy ways.
Take things like lovage and borage. I grew borage last year and ended up ripping the whole thing out by midsummer because it got so overgrown and threatened to overtake everything within three feet of it. This year, the lovage seems to be doing the same. I don't remember it being like that last year. Tonight, I whacked out all the blooming stalks, which were as tall as I am, and left the shorter foliage. I could see new foliage coming out of the ground at its base, so I'm sure it didn't hurt a thing. Besides, it's an herb, right? Herbs are meant to be cut.
I also pruned all the blooming stalks from the potentilla ('Melton Fire'). I wintersowed this two winters ago and it didn't bloom last summer. This year it did, but it blooms on its perimeter, not in the middle, and it was competing with the surrounding plants for space, so I cut them off. They had been blooming for quite some time now and about half of the blooms were gone anyway.
I ripped out a bunch of ribbon grass, too. Talk about invasive! I love its stripey look, but it sends out underground runners like a lot of grasses do, so I have to keep it under control by tearing some of it out every now and then.
I think a lot of things are looking raggedy due to the lack of rain. We've been watering regularly, but it's still not the same as rain. I think my pruning urges are my subconscious efforts to get rid of the reminders of what the gardens are suffering as a result of being starved for precipitation.