A couple of weeks ago, I heard the term “Second Spring” on one of my favorite gardening shows, A Gardener’s Diary, and it stayed with me. The gardener was referring to how North Carolina suffers through the long summer and then re-emerges into a second spring in September and October. Many years, I think Oklahoma does the same. Once the fall rains begin, the garden perks up and spends her remaining days covered in jewels like one of Jane Austen’s rich matrons.
This morning, camera in hand, I walked my garden. It’s looking quite grand considering fall is creeping up on it a little more everyday. With a cold front barreling in from the north, and Gustav’s remnants pushing from the south, half the state saw rain last night and this morning. So far, we have little rain, but this morning’s low was 65 degrees. Our projected high is 75.
My garden again smells of roses. ‘Zepherine Droughin’ and an unnamed rose (given to me years ago and pictured at right) are blooming. This unnamed beauty is one of the most highly scented in the back garden with a fragrance somewhere between a Tea and a Bourbon. She also has some real problems with blackspot, but is a trooper and outgrows the disease after her leaves fall off at the height of summer humidity. I keep the her for two reasons: she is a soft and pretty pink, the perfect foil for all my hot summer color, and her scent.
All of the roses, which I fed and deadheaded a month ago are blooming in the softer sunshine. I have only sprayed them for blackspot twice this summer, and I’ve changed their food to a regular rose food. I’ve decided I’m not that happy with the Bayer All in One. Although it worked well last summer, the bushes seemed weaker this summer after use. This isn’t scientific research. It is just my experience. I may change my mind next season. So, they do have some blackspot, but it isn’t bad.
There is also the cloying, sweet smell of Autumn Clematis, a plant I wish I’d never sunk into the ground. My excuse is that I was such a young gardener, and I just didn’t know better. Here, Autumn Clematis looks romantic covering the arbor, but what you can’t see is its stranglehold on one of my Cl. ‘Old Blush’ roses. I like the ivory flowers, but it is very aggressive. If you must have Autumn Clematis, plant it with care where you don’t mind it covering something. An old shed would be a good site I think. I’ve also found it cropping up throughout the garden for the first time in the seven years I’ve grown it. I’ve dug it out by the roots wherever it’s sprung, but I’ll find more next spring I’m sure.
Blustery winds are making the plants outside my window move to and fro reminding me that winter isn’t far way. I have a suggestion for all of us. If you have time today, go outside and take pictures of all the good things growing there. When the winter winds blow, you’ll be glad you have these photographic memories to console you.