Late summer in the garden
by Margie Lachman
Summer has whizzed by at warp speed. The very high temperatures have kept me indoors, and lots of tasks in the garden have had to wait for cooler weather. Just watering the plants in containers takes time, so controlling weeds has been kept at a minimum. We can hope September will bring cooler days to ready the garden for winter.
It is really important to rid the garden of as many weeds as possible before they make seeds. The many sunny days have helped to germinate seeds already in the soil, They will compete for water and nutrients with the plants we want. I found a Canada thistle 14 inches tall and in bloom. This is a tough weed to get rid of, with deep roots and full of painful prickles.
This time of year the garden centers reduce the price of plants so they don’t have so many to care for over winter. I found an Echinacea with a lovely rose-colored bloom. The plant comes in many colors today—from white to purple—as hybridizers work to give us more choices. This is an easy-to-grow native that flowers for several summer months and it attracts pollinators. Some selections are fragrant. If not deadheaded late in summer the cones in the center of the flowers will have seeds that many birds relish. These spiny cones inspired the name Echinacea, which is derived from the Greek word ekhinos meaning ‘hedgehog’! This drought-tolerant plant has been used in folk medicine to help recover from colds, but some research does not support this.
As our summers are getting warmer, plants that are not so demanding of water are a wise choice to add to the garden.
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