The Bruce Company Blog
October is such a transitional time, especially for gardeners. Our borders and beds teeter on the edge of a climatic cliff. Colors change as deep green foliage morphs into mellow butter yellow or fiery scarlet. Forms change as plants drop their leafy garb to expose the structure of bare bones.
We call them all bulbs, but bulbs, rhizomes and tubers are essentially storage organs that contain flower buds. The bulb feeds the developing flower as it grows to maturity and blooms. All it takes is water and time. Figuring out how to plant bulbs is simple as most are planted using the same rules.
As summer wanes and autumn approaches, birds congregate in the trees and on overhead wires. The air is sweetly scented with ripening fruit. The light changes, becoming more golden. Everything seems ready to burst. Not in the tender, life-is-beginning way of spring, but in a more poignant manner that hints life in the garden is starting to fade.
For many gardeners, Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of the autumn lawn care season. Cooler temperatures and more regular rainfall make this an excellent time to start a new lawn or repair an existing one. The still-warm soil speeds up seed germination while the cooler air aids growth and development. The 30-day forecast for the Madison area isn’t predicting that temperatures will drop lower than the high-40s until the end of the month, so you have some time. But you’ll want to get your seed down soon to decrease winter damage.
What a difference a year makes! As of Monday, just over an inch of rain. Only 2 thunderstorms. So far, 3 days with temps warmer than 85 degrees with 4 more in the forecast. Last August, there were only 2 the entire month. But the Autumnal Equinox is 24 days away, and it’s time to turn our gardening thoughts to preparing for the cooler weather to come.
Spring isn’t the only when it’s socially acceptable to be a nosy neighbor. Many of us who work at the Bruce Company are avid gardeners and on the hunt, for a few perennials to pop into our gardens in the last days of summer. And now that a few of the spring-blooming bulbs are in the Garden Center, we’re all looking for a few open spots to pop in a handful of tulips, allium and daffodils. Or Iris. And this is the perfect time of year to plant the German Beardeds.
Seesawing temperatures are the usual clue that we’re nearing the end of summer. But long-range weather forecasters predict that after the weekend, temperatures will hover in the very pleasant upper 70s and low 80s for the next 30 days, giving us lots of time to plant some fall veg and late blooming annuals. If you didn’t plant a family veg garden this spring, you can try a few things this fall. Think of it as a general science project if you have kids learning from home.
So many of you planted fruits and vegetables this spring and we hope that you’ve been happy with the results. After all, there are few things more delicious then a tomato eaten right off the vine. And you may find that you’ve got some empty spots where spring crops have been harvested or, as we’ve seen in some photos, plants that were not as successful as you hoped.
No one can deny that we have experienced some wet springs to mid-summers. Official totals of rain and from April 1st through Monday add up to 20.12 inches! Compare that to the area’s average of 14.58 inches over the same time frame. We hope that your gardens haven’t suffered too much damage and that your basements and garages have stayed dry. But given that the thunder will roll and the skies will darken, what can you do as a gardener to mitigate the damage of all of this moisture?
The Dog Days began later than usual this year and don’t end until August 22nd, so there’s still plenty of sultry summer weather in the future. Cicadas and crickets have been singing us to sleep, and nights, though still warm, are noticeably longer. It’s a fact, sad but true. The season of extended summer days never seems long enough, but it’s time for gardeners everywhere to reap what they have sown.