Iowa weather is admittedly strange. We whine about the cold in the barest months like January and February, while often sporting a few degrees more than places farther north. We whine about the sweltering heat in stifling months like July and August, while still registering cool temperatures and less humidity than climes farther south. But what we really can complain about, on nights when we’ve got nothing better to write about, is the change–constant change.
Just a week ago, I left the house for an hour or less a day, driven to hibernate in the wake of a warm, humid streak that made for highs in the upper 90s and dewpoints that hovered around 80. This morning I woke to find a cool, September-esque breezing floating through the house and never saw the thermometer rise about 69 all day. How Seattle…
I smiled as I walked around the garden tonight. The lawn has all but disappeared in some places, retreating to dormancy and leaving behind dying algae and moss–stark irony indeed! Some newly planted acquisitions, like two hardy sweet peas (Lathyrus vernus ‘Flaccidus Roseus’ and Lathyrus aureus) aren’t sure what to do. After spending most of the spring and early summer in rich, humusy potting soil, I imagine my now, hard excuse for topsoil seems like a sick joke. August stalwarts like rosinweeds (Silphium spp.) and tube clematis (Clematis heracleifolia) rage on against the dying of good growing conditions, delighting me almost daily with their perseverance.
My trip round the garden tonight after the rain reminded me of an ever-present list of chores. I have three Ozark bluestars (Amsonia illustris) that need moved, badly, but I’ve been putting it off so as not to sacrifice their lovely fall color display. I may bite the bullet and relocate them to the corner of the house I’m revamping soon, possibly tomorrow if all works right. They’ll join a host of ornamental grasses, false indigos (Baptisia), ironweeds (Vernonia), and new bearded irises (no surprise).
And after donning a jacket for this thoughtful poke-around, I’ve decided I can “feel” fall. What garden chores top your list as fall inevitably nears?