gardenphyllisophy1By Phyllis Galowitz

Summer is over. I hardly remember it being here. Suddenly, the leaves are falling even before they’ve changed color, carpeting the lawn. The phlox have lost their flowers overnight; the roadsides and meadows are splendid with goldenrod, goatsbeard (my North American Wildflower book says it blooms from March to July but they seem to defy that fact here in Andes where they are everywhere right now!), asters (both New York, the lavender and New England, the bright purple and yellow). It’s cold and windy today and I’m not anxious to work in the garden but there will be a warm, but not too warm, sunny day when I will get busy with all that should be done before the sudden cold and snow is here.

The vegetable garden is just about ended and I’ll have some cleaning up to do there. I can see that the trees and bushes have gotten enormous over the summer. They need pruning. The irises, planted under what is now their canopy, need to be moved to where they’ll get more sun. The phlox need dividing and perennials will have to be transplanted to a sunnier location. Dahlias will have to be dug up, after they turn black from the first frost, and the corms dusted and saved in a box of peat moss, under my basement steps, to be replanted in the Spring. It may be a bother, but they’re worth it! This is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs, to add to those that are no longer flowering. Everything is crying for a serving of slow-release fertilizer before the winter comes.

Picture5This summer I had neither the inclination nor the energy to do much in the garden. I’m afraid it must do what it can without my help and, surprisingly, it does. Groundcovers have filled in to smother the weeds and some of the prettier weeds are natural groundcovers. Evergreens have spread their branches, eliminating the need for annuals. Only the containers on the deck get my full attention. They’re planted with salad greens, cherry tomatoes, peppers and herbs, with a few flowers interspersed, and are most visible from the kitchen. Near the faucet and hose, they are easiest to water. They get the most sun and it’s so satisfying to pick some lettuce and a pepper as I prepare dinner, pinch a few herbs for cooking and visit the hummingbirds. My garden must adjust to my changing abilities, and happily, it does!

I’m enjoying nature’s garden, as I walk along Route 28 in the mornings. I can’t compete with its beauty and it has only the birds, the wind, the sun and the rain to care for it. The seeds are always spread in just the right places and no landscape designer could improve the color schemes.  ~