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The Garden in September

soon the greens will become grays, but for now I’m enjoying the year’s crop of plant life

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by Peggy Savides

Summer finally remembered its manners. It left a few weeks ago without a goodbye, without a hug and kiss for those of us who love it so much and favor it of all seasons. I like a little assurance that it will come around again and that this cooling and darkening into autumn is the natural life cycle of our trip around the sun. So it glowed a final hurrah the past few days. Mild, breezy, gently reminding even the bugs that it is almost over.  

No frost yet. Still, I am removing and cutting down what’s done in the garden. I’ll have to think of something more to do with the last tomatoes, and there are many. Usually there are lots of green ones to set on newspaper for indoor ripening, but this year they did it all on the mother plants. Onions and garlic are dug and dried and waiting in buckets. Potatoes and carrots are still in the ground; the root cellar is almost finished downstairs, but not yet as cool as the ground. Peppers and eggplant go into peak production at the end of the season, apparently oblivious that their end is near. The green beans still produce an occasion meal. Kale and parsley are at their best. New plantings of lettuce and spinach are up; a little frost doesn’t bother them.  

The perennials are doing the last act of the summer performance. I’m amazed at how long phlox keep blooming. Their purple and white is still pretty. Sedum heads are soft pink and anise hyssop spikes are still purple. Black-eyed susans are still yellow. Joe-pye plumes, though, turned brown and rosy echinacea are now seed heads for finches. 

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