Well, it’s official. I’ve got the gardening blues.
What are the gardening blues? It’s that time of year when…
We haven’t had rain in weeks and the Virginia clay soil is like one massive brick.
I feel like all I do is adjust the bird netting to keep the crows out of the tomatoes, water the plants, and water some more.
I can’t do any weeding because the brick-like soil makes it impossible to pull weeds.
Nothing is blooming, because I have yet to find late-summer blooming plants that are deer, drought, and heat resistant. (I think a visit to the Lewis Gintner Botanical Garden for some inspiration is in order).
The bugs have pretty much eaten what the crows have left behind.
Is there light at the end of this particular gardening tunnel? Yes, fortunately there is. This weekend, the weatherman predicts temps back into the 80s during the day, which will dramatically change my outlook. Weeding the messy patch that is my perennial garden is a whole lot easier when I’m not dripping with sweat!
The squash I planted late in the year are doing well, and as long as the plants live, I should have some nice spaghetti squash and butternut squash. I sure hope so! I love squash, but usually my plants succumb to various viruses. This year, by planting them late in the season, I hoped to outwit the insects that spread the virus.
And we are heading into the gardening home stretch, the last part of the year when it is time to consider planting bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, you name it, I’m a total bulb fanatic. The catalogs have arrived and I am smitten. I love tulips in all their shapes, colors and forms, and look forward to planting more.
Counting My Gardening Blessings
Whenever I’m feeling blue about the garden, as if I will never be able to get back outside and weed or enjoy it again, I think about my blessings. This year, three blessings stand out:
- The pond: I love my little pond. The fish are a surprising joy to me. I love feeding them and tending to them. I didn’t expect to form an emotional attachment to my goldfish, but Snack and Appetizer, as the cats named them, are fun to watch.
- The herb garden: I planted a new herb garden around the pond and that’s given me great joy, too. Mint, oregano, basil, catnip, thyme and savory have all added wonderful flavor to my meals and given the cats great fun, too. I was able to use my new dehydrator as well to store many herbs for winter time use and teas.
- The clary sage: My clary sage plants lived, and while I find myself running water out to the garden to keep them alive because of the drought, they are sending up new shoots. Clary sage is an aromatic herb and a native perennial that should tolerate drought once it’s established. It has silver gray, fuzzy leaves which are already quite pretty, and the pink-white flowers (when it finally blooms) should add to the summer garden, too.
Even in the midst of my whining and complaining about the heat and drought and lack of time to garden because my work has been so busy, if I just pause long enough to count my blessings, I feel better. August always seems to bring the gardening blues, but soon that will shift, along with September’s bright blue skies, and it will be time to garden (and take pictures to share with you!) again.
Happy gardening. Keep growing!
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.