When the heat is on, relax and savor the garden

Summer, at times, feels like a time of mixed feelings: though there is a definite sense of relief that all the planting is over with, I certainly miss the trips made earlier to various garden centers looking for the perfect plants to grow during the season.

The other day, therefore, so as to satisfy my craving, I decided to go to a local garden center on the pretext of finding a plant to fill a gap in one of the planters; while it was nice to be out there and meet and greet those familiar, friendly faces, the waning selection gave me somewhat of an unsettling feeling. Nevertheless, now that summer is officially here and things have settled down, this is the time to take it a little easy and enjoy the garden.

Take it easy we must, but we cannot ignore the important task of watering the new, as well as established plants regularly, as summer is at its peak now, which reminds me of the fact worth reinforcing that regular deep watering, without doubt, is more effective that frequent shallow sprinkles. Hanging baskets and container-grown plants, however, need to be watered daily, or even twice a day, since they dry out faster.

Summer also is the time when pests and diseases sneak up on our plants, including the houseplants, demanding a prompt, appropriate action; just recently, when to my horror, I noticed white streaks on the leaves of the Lucifer Crocosmia, presumably either due to an infestation of thrips or the spider mites, I wasted little time in spraying the foliage with a natural insecticide containing pyrethrins. Hopefully, the damage has not gone too far; also, despite a careful vigilance, it hasn’t been easy to keep a check on mealy bugs on our prized kumquat houseplant.

During spring and summer months, bringing cut flowers inside to keep in vases or make arrangements out of them is one of the many perks of having one’s own garden. In fact, a few years back, when I once attended a floral design workshop conducted by a well-known designer, her words always stayed with me that a conscious effort should be made to walk to the garden daily with the intent of gathering some flowers, or for that matter, some interesting leaves to liven up the indoors. Keeping those words in mind, I try to bring whatever is available in our garden, including sprigs of herbs like the fragrant red basil that are sitting right now on a small vase on our kitchen table.  

Being outdoors during summertime, whether to do chores or just piddle around, is very relaxing indeed, as long as we stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and have sunshade handy to protect from the sun, especially when the heat is on.

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