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Midsummer Maintenance

Report From PIA – July 18

We are midway through the summer, and there are two approaches to this time of year. Some people decide that they are “done” with their garden. They enjoy what they planted in May and early June, but they don’t want to place anything else in the ground for the rest of the summer. They might even be finished with their gardening until the fall cleanup.

Others are appreciating what was put in place early in the year, but they are actively weeding, deadheading, and even planting, in anticipation of months of growth or future gardens. Shrubs and perennials that are put into the ground now will be there next year too after all.

There is no one right way, of course. We must all tailor our landscapes to suit our temperament, desires, climate, and overall schedules.

But I think that being willing to check in and plant periodically, no matter which of life’s arenas are being cultivated, is probably a good thing. If my mind was made up that July 18th is too late to add to the garden, I won’t enjoy those perennials or shrubs next year. Similarly, if I decide that “publishers are no longer interested in gardening books”, and no longer pursue the proposals I’ve started, you can be sure that none of these ideas will grow.

If you’ve decided that it’s too late to take up painting, go to medical school, or learn how to whistle…well, you’ll never know, will you?

That’s not to say that I must put more perennials in the ground and submit book proposals to editors, or you have to pursue painting, medicine or whistling. What I’m getting at here is that we shouldn’t be limited by a self-imposed decision that it’s too late in a season, and that we should be “done” cultivating.

I happen to think that there is always cultivation to be done. In our veggie garden, we've been weeding, harvesting and planting new crops of beans, lettuce and chard. In the flower gardens I'm deadheading, and yes, planting. I want to take this same approach in my life as well. I want to continue to cultivate, plant and edit without thinking that it's too late in a season, or that something is too difficult to grow.

2 Responses to “Midsummer Maintenance”

  1. 1
    Yvonne Cunnington:

    What a great thought: I’ve always thought that it’s a shame so many people give up on their gardens so soon after summer begins. I understand why they cry uncle — I don’t love weeding in the heat either — but our northern season is so short it seems a pity to shorten it further by choice. We are deadheading today and things sure do look better after that job is done. You have inspired me to get a couple of gift plants, a lilac and a tulip tree, into the ground now, instead of leaving them in pots until the fall or next spring. Thanks for the inspiration and the pep talk.

  2. 2
    CL Fornari:

    Yvonne,
    You’re right – things look so much better after a bit of tweaking… in and out of the garden. In the next day or two I’ll get out and start cutting daylily stems and streaked leaves. Thanks for stopping by Poison Ivy Acres.