Monday, September 30, 2019

Controlled Chaos in my September Garden

I've been in Ohio for fifteen years now, and I still can't get used to the roller coaster weather. I suppose the residents of every state think the same, that their weather is unpredictable. But my take is that central Ohio is just a wild card when it comes to weather. This June we had much more rain than usual, and many farmers couldn't even plant their crops. Now it's September, and we're in drought conditions. And my garden is paying the price for the crazy weather. What a mess!

Now you're probably thinking that my photos make the garden look lovely, and that I must be exaggerating. Trust me, I am not. It's a jungle out there!

And when you have a jungle, diseases and insects run rampant. In these photos, you're looking at the survivors. There have been many casualties, especially the vegetables. I'll always be an organic gardener, but I have to admit that I'm getting a bit frustrated with it. I swear every possible insect and disease finds its way into my garden.

I'll take time over the winter to strategize a better way to garden. I need some change out there, otherwise I'm just going to give way to my frustration. I've already decided to try new varieties of vegetables, instead of using the same type every year as we've been doing.

 I also need to rein in my tendency to cram every square inch of my garden with plants. I think it's this very crowding that's making the problems spread like wildfire. Luckily the insect and disease damage isn't usually noticeable from a distance. I hide it well.

And don't get me started on the poison ivy! For most of my life, I was immune from the stuff. I've even called myself The Poison Ivy Whisperer. But I guess my luck ran out. I just keep getting it on my arms, and half the time, I don't even know where it came from. It has changed me as a gardener. I no longer stride confidently through my garden beds. Now I might stand back reluctantly instead. I'm hoping that the offending vines will show themselves once frost hits. I'll have to remove them, but I'll be prepared for battle. There's no other way.

Before you think that all is frustration here in my September garden, I have to say that beauty abounds also. Butterflies continue to delight me daily. I raised and released 39 monarchs this year. It was just as delightful as the very first time. It's strange to not have anymore caterpillars or chrysalis in the house. I miss them already. But I am enjoying seeing them pass through on their way to Mexico. And that includes every different type of butterfly that shows up here. Although I wasn't very happy to see a Painted Lady butterfly quite literally chase away a monarch the other day.

I've definitely had successes. My zinnias have gone gangbusters this year. I've filled many vases, and taken countless photos of them. They're just plain pretty, while also attracting butterflies. It's hard to argue with that kind of combination.

September has been full summer weather this year. Today is the last day of the month, and it was in the 90's! But by the end of the week, autumn will arrive with cool weather. It's time. Besides, without cool weather, how will I enjoy the fall color show? I'm ready to let go of summer weather. I'm never happy  to lose flowers to frost, but it's always good to have a winter rest. I'm excited to think my next post for October should have some fall colors to share. I can't wait! But here are a few closing sunsets  in the meantime.