It’s an interesting new experience not spending two to four hours working outside every day. It got to be so much of a habit that I just automatically went out in the morning and stayed until whatever tasks I’d set myself were finished. This autumn, I’d been spending closer to four hours since the weather was so charming. “Charming” is not a word I would have ever thought to use for weather; it just showed up. And no wonder: the weather has been so pleasant and likeable that these days have charmed me. I was glad to have excuses to spend so much time outside — cleaning up gardens in preparation for planting wildflowers this winter, dividing and transplanting the prolific New England asters, and planting a few indulgences such as lily bulbs and a couple of plants.
I tried once before to plant Russian sage, a plant that bees seem to love, but that one died, and it looks as if the one I just planted wants to go the same way. Oh, well, what will be will be. I certainly learned that with my lawn — no matter what I did, the Bermuda grass encroached, and now I have large brown swaths of dormant Bermuda grass edging the bright green. Even worse, no matter what I did, some of my lawn desiccated in the summer. I’ll be interested to see what happens next spring with the grass areas that became heat stressed. Some patches seem to be dead, but in other places, a few green blades are laboriously making their way back.
I blamed myself for the demise of the grass, though I don’t see what I could have done differently. Extensive research finally gave me the answer — when temperatures exceed 95 degrees, cool season grasses go dormant. Over 100 degrees, the grasses die. To keep the grass alive, I should have misted the lawn a couple of hours every afternoon. I’m not sure I’d have done that, but perhaps if the grass comes back, I’ll think of something. The greenest area in my yard gets a lot of shade during the day, so perhaps I’d find a way to shade the areas that are in full sun from morning to night. Maybe umbrellas to shade those areas. Or maybe I’ll just wait to see what happens. It does look as if some wildflower seeds took root, so that might be a solution — just let them take over. As long as the area is mowable and not overrun by the so very aggressive Bermuda grass, I’m not sure I care.
As you can see, even without a lot of outside work to do, I still spend time thinking about my yard and planning for next year.
This “charming” weather will be coming to an end soon, but after the coming cold spell, I’m sure there will be plenty of work to do, such as cleaning up all the leaves that have yet to fall from my neighbors’ trees and clearing out the final garden. That garden still has a few struggling flowers that I am loath to dig up, but I am sure the coming freeze (maybe even snow!) will put an end to any blooms.
Meantime, I’m avoiding garden withdrawal by taking small walks. It’s funny to me that I spent years taking long aimless walks, but now I have a hard time walking just to walk. It seems as if I need a reason, so I’ve been going to the library more often. (Have to fill all those empty hours somehow!)
I hope you’re having lovely weather, too, and that the cold front we’re expecting doesn’t adversely affect you.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.