The August of Benign Neglect


Summer arrived too late and fall has appeared early. As Jimmy Carter once pointed out, life is not fair. Now that it is cool enough to take a close look at the garden I see that nature is making a mad dash to correct itself. The yellowed greens of September are showing the effects of a rainy July; echinacea and black eyed susans that grew too quickly once the sun appeared in August have flopped over in exhaustion, spent from the sheer excitement of a whole summer in a single month. And the day lilies, still confused by it all, are flowering randomly when they should have been finished in July. The zinnias fell prey to the Japanese beetles just as soon as they went in, and even the daisies gave up in disgust after weeks of rain. The tomatoes are trying to forgive and forget, this being my first year and all, but only the tiny yellow pear variety yields a daily bite or two, which I nibble for lunch (that way I don’t have to share). The sedum, just ready to bloom, is swamped with bees while the lobelia saunters through in cornflower blue, oblivious to it all. See? I have brought you mums as a peace offering for not paying attention to you all month.

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