I stopped by the Keene Achille Agway a few days back to grab some gardener’s tape. A large branch of a climbing rose next to the driveway at my house had flopped out onto the pavement, so I wanted to truss it up. Still tons of mums everywhere and inside I found those familiar crates of spring bulbs on display. It’s that bittersweet time of year for us gardeners. A relief in that we can just start to let some things go until next year. It actually hasn’t been that taxing a season keeping everything watered with the incessant rain we’ve had since the start of July. The weeds on the other hand… it’s been a good year for them.
I’d give my overall gardening experience this growing season probably a B-. It feels a tad wrong to complain about it, but we really had just too much rain and temperatures on the cool side for those vital growing months of July and August. Many of my perennials didn’t get as big as usual this year and for whatever reason, the peonies were fairly sparse with their blooms. I do wonder if last summer’s drought might have come in to play.
There’s still plenty of fall chores to be done so I can’t completely let go just yet. I’ll thank myself in the spring if I get the vegetable and cutting gardens cleaned up now… as well as cutting back all those peonies, hostas and dried up lily stalks. I’ve got a bale of hay to mulch the roses after the ground freezes and I’ve promised myself I’m going to plant yet more bulbs in October. Particularly crocus and some species tulips.
Need something to look forward to for garden season 2022? I’ve received a couple emails over the last month and one was from Katie Delaney of the Old Homestead Garden Club. They’re looking for submissions for their first ever garden tour, Garden Follies, which will be held July 23 next year. They’ve extended the deadline for applications until October 15. If you have a garden you’re proud of in either Keene or Swanzey, reach out to Katie for an application. (email@example.com) They’re looking for well-tended gardens either large or small and they’d also like to feature some garden follies. A bench or structure… an object d’art… a sculpture etc. I lent my gardens at my old house on Court Street in Keene for a fundraising tour years ago and it was fun to have people wander about them and identify plants and just share some garden talk.
A volunteer at this year’s Art in the Park reached out and asked if ELF has ever done a piece on all the volunteers that take care of the park… particularly the gardens. There’s a Friends of Ashuelot River Park group of volunteers that tends to the beautiful, sprawling property. Did you know that Keene has 17 parks and open spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy? They all fall under the Keene Parks and Recreation Department’s care. Ashuelot River Park is right on West Street and within the next couple weeks the trees will be ablaze with color. Take a walk through it and admire the gardens. Maybe next year consider becoming a volunteer with the Friends group.
Well, it’s a wrap for another year with Intrepid Gardener and I can’t wait ‘til late April/early May to get back to it. In the meantime, I’m leaving you with one of the last shrubs to bloom in my garden. The pink blooms you see here are from my Lespedeza thunbergia, a woody shrub with an arching habit that puts out these incredibly lovely sweat pea-like blossoms that cover the whole thing! A legume, just like garden peas or peanuts, you’ll see the similarity in leaves. It’s boisterous so I moved mine out of the boulder garden to under a towering oak next to a rose and hydrangea. Only in its second year there, it’s a good three feet tall. They can reach well over four feet high and wide so give it some room if you get one.
Until next spring, happy garden dreaming!