Friday, August 28, 2009
Friday Flowers: Late Summer Garden
Summer did not arrive until August this year and it appears to be merging into autumn already. We did have a few hot days which encouraged some growth, particularly of my tomatoes, and with our frequent rains everything has stayed green and fresh. This summer has not been kind to local farmers who needed hot, drier weather for certain crops to develop. We had several tornadoes in southern Ontario last Thursday and some farming regions were heavily damaged. Apple orchards in the Collingwood area were completely destroyed and it will take years before new trees bear fruit. So I shall not complain about weather related imperfections in my garden.
My second crop of raspberries is developing quickly and should keep me in fruit until the first frost. I have yet to pick my first ripe tomato but will likely get fifteen at once when they finally do redden. Clematis seed heads are so interesting that I do not cut them off. I still have a few unopened buds on the vine of my late blooming variety. The spring arugula went to seed and I saved and dried the pods. Today I planted a fall crop which will give me fresh greens until the ground freezes hard sometime in December
We are finally seeing some insect activity with bumblebees and butterflies making a late appearance. The birds prefer to get water from dishes I set in sheltered areas of the garden instead of coming up to the large bird bath. I was delighted to find three Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on the milkweed plants which we have allowed to grow near our composter. This is the first time I have found the larvae in the yard and the first I have found this season. They are very small and I hope they will develop soon enough to make the long journey south. They are now living in a protected container on the deck away from predators and with plenty of fresh leaves.
Our yard will never be featured in a magazine or be on the route of a garden tour, but it is a place of beauty, a source of some of our food, and refuge for a diversity of insects, birds and animals. And that makes it quite perfect for me.