Goodbye and good riddance to hurricanes, debilitating humidity, and the grinding noise of air conditioners. Oh, how we complained about August.
By Chris Cohan
Goodbye and good riddance to hurricanes, debilitating humidity, and the grinding noise of air conditioners. Oh, how we complained about August. Now that September has arrived we are quickly bemoaning the loss of summer.
Whine, moan, and complain. If nothing else, it is good for the circulation.
On the bright side, marigolds are hitting their zenith. Carefully tended all season they are now bountiful bouquets of bright orange flowers. They are great for small arrangements and last a long time, too. Japanese anemones have tall stems with pale pink and white flowers. Once you see them swaying in a breeze, you understand how they got their common name, windflowers.
Asters, which sneakily hang back all season, are now stepping forward to take center stage. They come in a wide variety of color and heights. Asters are not only native and pest-resistant, but attract pollinators galore. They have great names like Alma Potschke.
Untended, they become leggy, floppy and produce modest blooms. To ensure asters provide you with sturdy plants with bouquets of blossoms, pinch them several times a season.
Goldenrod, another late bloomer, as the saying goes explodes with the most alluring golden yellow head of color. Three varieties with names that aptly describe their late summer look are Golden Fleece, Fireworks, and Little Lemon. These hardy, quick- spreading natives grow to three feet, so plant them at the back of the border.
Goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans. The pollen causing these allergy problems is mainly produced by ragweed, which blooms at the same time, but is wind-pollinated. Goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers, and is thus mainly pollinated by insects.
This time of year, roses are making a comeback. Many from the Knockout series to Betty Prior and other repeat bloomers are displaying a full second flush of blooms. Keep your rose garden beds clean.
Prune back your Nikko Blue hydrangeas now for next season flowers.
Butterfly bushes continue to attract monarch butterflies. Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage continued blooming. If you do this regularly, your bushes will flower almost to frost. The butterflies will greatly appreciate your generosity of effort.
Montauk daisy white buds are plumping up, if you remembered to pinch them back during the height of the season. If not, they are a mess of awkward branches all akimbo. Sadly, they are too heavy to support the flowers. They droop to the ground, losing all semblance of charm, character, or romance. Some gardeners lasso them into a tight and artificial upright bouquet. If only they had been pinched back a few times, they would be handsome mounds of fresh white flowers. Next year! Ah yes, there is always next year. Just tell that to any Mets fan.
There is nothing like a bulb catalog to seduce the latent gardener in even the coldest curmudgeon. No matter how the day has gone, open up a glossy, full-color bulb catalog and buy, buy, buy. Remember to choose varieties so your garden will be a continuous flowering display from snow melt to early summer. Daffodils and wood hyacinths are deer-resistant and multiply easily. Squirrels love freshly planted crocuses. Some bulb purveyors will provide a discount to early bird purchases.
Order spring-flowering bulbs for next year now and you’ll enjoy a winter of content.