Echinacea and other perennials attract bees and respond well to a little TLC.
Article by Jane Powell, Good to Grow
Recently, someone in my family needed emergency health care. Now, after a rough few weeks and the attention of many, they are on the road to recovery and getting stronger every day.
Spending time with hospital beds, not garden beds, got me to thinking about the health care of my garden.
Just like all patients, gardens need preventive care, emergency care and regular check-ups. Yes, they need attention year-round, but spring and summer are the garden’s high-maintenance months, and like in most situations, a little hard work paid off big time when the unexpected happened.
The perennial beds I had fussed over all spring have continued to flower. The birds and bees are happy for the blooms and even happier that I haven’t been deadheading as often as usual. The bright fuchsia flowers of my echinacea have faded to a dusty pink, and the lamb’s ear blooms are now long and leggy. All this seems to make the pollinators happy.
As I type today, there are little birds flittering from plant to plant enjoying the quiet morning. Hopefully my self-seeding plants will take advantage of this, too, and do their thing — providing fuller plant beds for next year.
The bags and bags of mulch that I spread a few months ago have helped to limit the weeds sneaking into my beds. Of course, the mulch will also provide nutrients to the soil as it breaks down and seeps into the ground. Not only nutrients, but the mulch helps prevent the pup from tracking muddy paw prints into the house after she has wandered through the garden.
In my front beds, I did put mulch where the pup runs, but in other beds, I had spread a commercial garden soil mix around the plants. It was a good decision. Not only did it give the beds a new look, it has enriched the existing soil and given me healthy plants this season. I will do this again next year.
I got lucky this year. We have had plenty of rain, and watering has not been something to cause concern. If anything, I have noticed areas where the rain has created erosion and tiny pathways that I need to address this fall.
Because of this year’s rain, I have planted grass seed. Yes, when the forecast says rain, you can see me outside with my bucket of seed. The pup and my shady lot both make it tricky to have a lush lawn at the little house on the big hill, so often I settle for anything green (weeds are green — right?), but this year I am trying to combat the invasion of chickweed and clover.
I am fortunate to have help mowing and edging my lawn. Thanks to Scott and his crew, my grass is kept at a respectable height and neatly trimmed. Not only does this help when I’m away from home, but during less stressful periods it gives me time to play in the flower and vegetable beds — plus I smile and let out a happy sigh when I come home to a freshly manicured lawn.
As I have written before, I use pots of perennials and annuals everywhere. The rain has kept the garden pots watered, and they have flourished. Some would say they look better than ever. The pots are full and colorful, despite my lack of attention. They will transition easily into the fall season.
This summer has reminded me to have faith that with hard work, the health of your garden and your family will prosper. Many thanks to Nate, Carolyn and Kit for keeping the heart of my family healthy, and many thanks to all who helped my family’s gardens and our lives flourish through the summer and always.
As we begin a new season, I look forward to what it will bring and I will remember that the work I do now will bring a stronger heart and a stronger garden next year.