The Slow Decline Towards Autumn

I spent last weekend “puttering” in the garden. I had been away the prior weekend and had a lecture this week so I had to groom the plants I was bringing to the lecture.

Of course, once I start “messing,” I’m done for. I didn’t even finish on Saturday; I had to go back and finish on Sunday.

Usually this is enjoyable work–and it even was this past weekend. But this time of year it becomes bittersweet because I start doing what I call “plant triage:” I assess which of the house plants are going to make it back into the house in a few more weeks and which are heading to the compost pile. Some have already found their way there. No point in using any more water on them.

I did some repotting–not the best practice normally but certain things had just gotten too large over the summer with all the rainfall and had to be moved again into larger pots. Besides, I will have a little more room on the windowsills, I think (I always think that, and I never really do because in the end, I never really part with much).

I took some cuttings of things I wanted to over-winter-and that’s when I know it really is winding down–when I start the cuttings process.

But our nights begin getting cool here right around the middle of August so if I don’t want the plants to “go to sleep” so to speak, I need to get my cuttings going.

And our nights cooled off in late July this year so I may even be a bit behind with the cuttings this year. You can’t be ruled by the calendar in this–you need to be ruled by the temperatures.

The one thing I haven’t done yet–I just can’t bear it–I haven’t pulled my tropicals out of my big mixed containers to over-winter for next year. Once that’s done, summer is “officially” over.

Since this week was warm, I know I have a few more weeks to go on that. But if I don’t get them inside soon, when I do bring them in, they’ll suffer for it. Labor Day is about the optimum time to do it, I find.

Still, I try to stretch it a week or two past if I can, particularly since Labor Day is so early this year. We’ll see what the forecast looks like.

I’m in no hurry for summer to end!

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