Try To Remember the Kind of September

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August slid seamlessly into September. We have missed the normal stressing of the tulip poplar trees, since we’ve had plenty of rain during the summer. Sometimes by early September, the poplar trees are half denuded, and shriveled brown leaf corpses skitter along the driveway, but not this year. If you look carefully though, you see tinges of color beginning to affect some trees. Most leaves are still bright green, but some trees have a yellowish cast to their edges. Dogwood trees have taken it a bit further, and have red tinting the edges of their leaves.


We just got back from a quick trip through the Potomac highlands of West Virginia. Up at 3500′ elevation, some trees had already transitioned to bright red, and not just the ground sumacs. Before long, the entire woods will look tired, and ready to adopt their brief display of fall brilliance before they drop their yearly crop of leaves to feed their roots. I’ve begun to harvest the daffodil bulbs for use by others. When I met up with my son for the eclipse, he received a plastic bucket filled with bulbs for his use in landscaping in Richmond.


The picture at the top shows what a cluster of daffodil bulbs looks like when they begin to crowd the surface. I’ll see these bulbs as I’m out weeding, and wait till the heat breaks a bit before digging the bulbs out. The bulbs keep budding and going higher till they break through the surface in the summer. After living in the same house for 25 years, I can harvest hundreds of bulbs each year and still not touch many of the clusters that could stand to be thinned. I’ve found if I keep the foliage intact until it dies back, it may look ugly for a month or two, but you will always provide the bulbs with enough energy to grow, multiply and prosper into the future.


This second picture shows how many bulbs come out of a single cluster. You never know how many bulbs are hidden below the surface. In this cluster, I took out 35 bulbs, and left 6 back in the hole to reproduce, ready to bloom next spring. I excavated a second cluster, taking 40 bulbs out to spread around. In 5-10 years, I’ll be digging the bulbs back up again and harvesting the next batch for springs to come.


We managed to keep our outside plants watered and growing through the summer. Just now we have a bit of stress showing on some of the planters where we missed a watering or two. Normally we have shriveled baskets by this time of the year, so we are happy to have blooms still gracing our porch and deck. The hummers are still around, fighting their aerial combat missions trying to gain access to the feeders, while the alpha hummer tries to play Spitfire and beat up on the Messerschmitt fighters. One day soon, we will notice that we’ve not seen a hummer for several days. That’s when we know the peak of summer has gone away to stay.


The vegetable gardens are winding down. Squash and cucumbers are yellowing and dying back now, but the Roma tomatoes are still providing salad and sandwich slices. Our green and hot peppers are producing – it took forever for the hot peppers to grow to maturity. With luck, they’ll produce till the first freeze of fall. We have the last crop of green beans coming to maturity and should have some good meals out of them yet.


A thunderstorm is approaching as I write this. Thunder is rolling from ridge top to ridge top as it heads towards us. It is ushering in a cold front that will drop our temperatures down into fall-like levels. As this front droops through the southeast, it is expected to steer Hurricane Irma up onto Florida, and keep it from marching across the Gulf. My hope is that this storm will lack the punch and destructive power of Hurricane Harvey. But with its winds at 185 mph, it will need to shed a lot of energy if it is not to generate its own weather catastrophe.


Stone-Eater Added Sep 6, 2017 - 5:09pm
Nice one. I hope you get spared of Irma. But then - nature knows no good or bad, and "god" won't change its path ;-)
Dino Manalis Added Sep 6, 2017 - 5:34pm
I like the fall, but we know the weather will eventually become colder with snow on the way!
Autumn Cote Added Sep 6, 2017 - 6:15pm
Please note, the second best way to draw more attention to your work is to comment on the work of others. I know this to be true because if you do, I'll do everything in my power to draw more attention to your articles.
PS - There is a lot I can do and would like to do on your behalf.
Leroy Added Sep 6, 2017 - 6:55pm
Nice try, Even.  But four minutes before isn't close enough.  It has to be more recent than that.
Even A Broken Clock Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:50am
Leroy, I'm sure that the algorithms that generate the system messages from Autumn are not running every minute (or hour). I don't mind getting a few of these messages.  Was out of town for a few days so I hadn't done much commenting.
Saw that my first picture in this post hadn't come through so I added it to show the bulbs in the ground. Going to have to go out and do some more digging - the bulbs are erupting all over the place. If I decided to sell bulbs, might be able to supplement my retirement income. Nah, I enjoy sharing them with others.
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 12:03pm
I enjoyed the article, BTW.  I'm not that much into gardening yet.  I suspect the time will come when I am better able to do it. 
The leaves here will remain green for a while yet, maybe until November and into to early December.  The trees of the nearby Appalachians have started to turn, they say.  I can probably see it on such a clear day as today.  The trees on the mountain down the road haven't started turning yet.  I don't look forward to the cold.  I prefer the warm weather.   
Leroy Added Sep 8, 2017 - 9:57am
Thanks a lot.  Now the song keeps running though my head.  I can't get it out.  Tom Jones sang a version of it.
"Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September when you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow"