Pea Season

The month of July is a nice time to be a gardener because most of the real heavy work is done, but there is still some anticipation of things to come. The first flush of roses has come and gone, but the dahlia blossoms are fat little buds of promise waiting for the heat of summer. The asiatic lilies liberally sprinkled throughout the garden are displaying their gigantic waxy blooms, and vegetables are starting to arrive signaling the start of what must surely be the origin of “salad days”.  (I can’t take credit for the vegetable bounty; that is the sole domain of the Professor who has two small vegetable gardens which keep us supplied all summer.)

July is also a good month to take stock of how well things are working (or not working) in the garden.  My first notes about things that need to be changed are made this month, scribbled in my gardening notebook for later reference.  One of my worst gardening habits is that I always plant things too closely together, so by July it’s quite apparent what things need to be moved.  It’s also a good time to take notes about what things just aren’t doing well and make a decision about whether or not the plant should be moved or deaccessioned.

My garden is constantly undergoing this kind of editing, and an awful lot of the time it’s due to some force I have no control over.  For example, my neighbor removed a very large oak tree from his front yard last fall which completely changed the sunlight patterns on the west side of my yard, necessitating the move of several plants which could not tolerate this sudden onslaught of sunlight.  Conversely, I now have areas of shade in my yard that I didn’t have during the preceding three years because of the massive worm damage which partially defoliated several of my trees.

It’s always something in the garden world; I like to call this “hobby security”.

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