Riding the wave

Autumn blooming crocus (Colchicum autumnale) at the Bosquet entranceIt almost looks like we could ride this heat wave straight into fall. The Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) have been dropping bright red tokens since mid-July; the scent of ripe grapes hovers on whatever little breeze we can catch; the autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) are emerging from the ivy (a good 2 weeks earlier than last year); the dreaded schoolbus yellow is not only present in the gardens (black and brown-eyed Susans have been blooming since mid-July) but is suddenly on our roads too. While part of me is crying uncle! because of this summer’s relentless heat, the other part of me is nowhere near ready to let go. It can’t possibly already be September, can it?

Despite the fact that we’ve actually had an extra long and hot summer season, it still feels to me as if it only just started. In one way, that’s a little bit true. The gardens here – especially the Display Garden – are reaching their peak now. And barring some sort of natural disaster (Earl, step away from the gardens!) or the early frost that I’ve been pessimistically predicting since the daffodils came early, summer will be stunning for quite a while yet.

Dahlia 'Teasbrooke Redeye' in the North Garden But first we’ve got to ride the wave. Gail and I are trying to get as much deadheading and weeding done in the gardens as we can first thing in the morning before copious sweat makes the sunglasses slide off our noses (we’ve given the volunteers a reprieve this week). And we’re keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Earl and family. Forecasters keep saying we’re in for it this year but we’ve got all fingers and toes crossed. – If that doesn’t work to fend off a hurricane, I don’t know what will.

Potting shed and greenhouse - overlooking the Display GardenMeanwhile, this is the best time for Gail and me to look over the gardens and make our annual assessments. We’ve grown plenty of plants worthy of rave reviews, put together a few winning combinations, and had our share of head-scratcher disappointments. All of which need to be documented (stay tuned). And of course we’re already kicking around ideas for next year’s gardens…

Gomphocarpus physocarpus a.k.a. Asclepias physocarpus 'Oscar' already making seed podsMelinis nerviglumis 'Savannah' - pink paintbrush grass and agava - a favorite comboSalvia van houttii 'Dancing Flame' - a cool combo with tiger eye sumac

Have you started taking notes about this season (and next) – or have you been keeping track all along? Have you let go of summer?