Crops laid by, time to relax
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:16 am
By: By Jimmy Williams
Statistically, we are at just about the peak (depths, rather) of the most putrid time of year. Rail all you want to about a long, cold winter, but in this part of the world a long, hot summer out-miseries it any day.
You can (nearly) always put on enough clothes to stay warm, but there’s a limit on how much you can take off to keep cool. Break the limit and the bobbies will come get you unless you’re on one of those debased Greek islands where anything goes (off).
August is here, and, theoretically at least, summer turns the corner, as the saying goes. Well, maybe it does in Vermont, but in Tennessee you’re apt to notice little difference until well into September. About the only saving grace about August is the longer nights, causing less moisture to be evaporated into the atmosphere per 24 hours. Back in June and early July it was a long time from dawn to dusk.
Thinking, however, once football and band practices begin, is toward autumn, that lovely season with such a lovely name. We are already looking forward to chrysanthemums, asters, plumes on ornamental grasses, berries and fall fruit. It would seem we would never tire of the cumulus heads of pink and mauve summer phloxes and other like and rife seasonal treats, but human nature is such that leaning forward is always the, well, leaning.
In the old days, late summer was time for family reunions, once the crops were laid by. This day and time, the crops are laid by, for all practical purposes, before they are planted, that is, with the spraying of herbicide before hard-land drilling of seed.
Your ornamental garden, by now, should likewise be laid by until the big pullout of fall and planting of cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, snapdragons and dianthus. You will, of course, have the odd weed(s) to pull, mostly as a preventive to avoid them seedling into next spring’s potential beds. And there will be the spot spraying of herbicide for persistent and stubborn cases (i.e. poke, bermuda grass).
By and large, however, and particularly compared to the frantic spring and early summer rush, it is a good, fat time now, to be enjoyed fully by relaxing and admiring. Unless, that is, you are so averse to heat, like I am, that you waste away under the air conditioner.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 8.2.11
Jimmy Williams, The Garden Path