Photo courtesy Flickr
Our record summer dry spell is teaching me that the term sere is not just for lit majors. I see leaves dead that ordinarily just blink a couple of times when water is short.
Saturday I had the luxury of spending the whole of the daylight hours in the garden, loafing, tending a cooking fire, and performing the odd chore now and then. The secret of gardening, I think, is simply to spend time there. The space will tell the gardener what it wants.
The grounds are utterly dormant and have been for weeks. It’s fascinating to stroll around and see what’s happening. The brief rain spell brought aggressive opportunists to life, and it’s easy to nail unwanted ones that stand out green against the background. The lawn and border look like a piece of autumn tweed, no surprise since tweed is hunter’s camouflage.
The drought brings back memories of the choice cultivars with which I crowded the borders years ago. Looking after those plants was like child care. Now the hardy natives behave like a flash mob, and it’s easy to guide them into areas that are convenient.
I’m grooming the grounds so that when the rains come, the landscape will spring to life with nary a displaced twig. Experience has taught me that following a dry summer, our September spring is a thrilling show of growth and scent. A simple pass with the mower along the grass path through the front sward of yarrow and clover established a rewarding contrast between the dry turf and the brown-stemmed herbs.