Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Turning Point

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.


Unknown said...

Isn't it amazing how we can water regularly... but the 1/2 inch of water my garden received last week did more good than a whole month of me walking around with a hose. (And I'm a "good" and "efficient" waterer!)

I'm with you on the borage. I tore mine out last year about the same time you did, but did have some seedlings to deal with this year anyway. And isn't it a bear to tear out, too? All those prickly leaves... why doesn't anyone tell you about those instead of waxing poetic about those darn blue flowers?!

Unknown said...

Oh no! Summer can't be half over, Kylee--it hasn't even arrived here yet! Temperatures still in low sixties most days (warmer in the Valley, but by now we should be having low-mid seventies up here on the hill, and eighties in the Valley). But there IS something about July that makes me feel like you do, that we've come to some sort of turning point.

Borage...I love the blue flowers, but it does get messy. On a press trip a couple of years ago, we were given a command performance dinner at the Digby Pines, and one of the appetizers was tempura-dipped borage leaves with some sort of cheese...and they were divine!

Happy Independence Day, my friend~

Matron said...

What a wonderful photo! Come over to England if you want rain! Of course now Wimbledon is here the heavens opened - otherwise it has also been a dry Spring here as well. My veggie garden is loving it, come and see!

kate said...

I have been complaining of much the same thing - but because we've had so much rain. The garden is lush, but so overgrown, I feel as if I'm just hacking at one plant to get to the next one.

Angie said...

One of the Columbus meteorologists says that when you hear the first cicada, count 90 days ahead and that is when you will get your first frost!

So mark your calendar and see if it works out for you!

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