How to tell it’s summer’s end

1. ‘Autumn Minaret’ day lily is blooming.Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’

2. School started in Bristol this week. On my way to work I passed a kid who was waiting for the bus wearing a scowl that could send us all to the cornfields.

3. It’s time to start taking cuttings. This week Cathy (our summer garden helper) and I cleaned out the cutting bench for a fresh start. We use coarse perlite as a rooting medium in a bench outfitted with a mist system and heating pads. We take cuttings of any tender perennials we’d like to use in the gardens again and if we need more of a particular hardy perennial, sometimes we propagate those by cutting too. Late August into September is a great time to take cuttings because plants are putting on a burst of fresh growth. Check around the base of your Salvias, for instance, and you might see new shoots ripe for cutting: tender growth that hasn’t developed a flower bud yet. If you don’t see new shoots, cut the plant back on one side and wait a week or two. Usually the cuttings we take at this time of year become greenhouse stock from which we take more cuttings that then make it into the gardens next spring.

the cutting bench in need of a good scourA clean bench with new perlite and tidy rows of cuttings

4. The pollinators are furiously busy. A bunch hummingbirds were pipping and buzzing all over the gardens this morning chasing each other as if there wasn’t enough nectar to go around (there’s plenty for everyone, kids). I was lucky enough to catch one resting (scoping out his territory) on the Idea Bed arbor. Hummingbird at rest

Some plants are so full of bees and wasps it’s unsafe – I guess stings are just another occupational hazard – The last few weeks, Julie, Gail and I have all gotten in somebuzzy’s way…

5. The light is long, the sky is deep blue and dew in the morning makes everybody photogenic.

Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ (bird’s eye view)Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum)

What signals summer’s end for you?