Sally's Summer Garden
The Garden Lady
LATE SUMMER GARDENS
“We must make our garden grow.”
“Work keeps us from three great evils:
boredom, vice and want.”
--Voltaire, "Candide" 1759
The Noodleheaded Sprinkler, voted the
“Best New Product of the Year” at the International Garden Tool
Convention,” looks something like the headgear of a jester at a
New Year’s Eve party. Twelve flexible “noodle” nozzles that can
be bent to send water to any desired spot ensure target
watering. The device waters 15’ away and an Extend-a-Riser is
optional for about $14. The Noodleheaded Sprinkler is $22.
Needless to say, think what kids can do with it! If you cannot
find the sprinkler in local stores and nurseries try
or Walt Nicke Company (978-887-3388) for information.
Celebrate August with a plant for the
workplace. Whether on vacation or not, shop for a plant that
will enhance your desk area. If you have some light from a
window, Boston fern, Kalanchoe and Aloe vera are good choices.
If you have a darker office, ask the florist or nursery for
Calathea or a peace lily, which can take shade. For lazy folks
who have bright office light, Tillandsia is tiny and needs only
air, no watering or soil. A misting once in a while helps it,
however. If your office is windowless, but bright, it is right
for Lily turf. Bottom line: nursery staffers will help you
you know that…
Gardeners, campers and hunters often
have similar needs. The end of summer is a good time to consider
gift shopping at sales for items like jackknives, small but
sturdy spades, durable polyester “pop-up” bags and pocket chain
saws that will not only do a quick prune in the garden, but also
clear enlarge a space for the tent.
Timer’s garden tips
In the heat of August, “Plan your
preserving, ladies, and try to have your fruit ready early in
the morning before the heat of the day Do not undertake to do
too much at a time.” --An old untitled cookbook
Reading on the garden bench
Tired of garden articles whose garden
articles feature Arizona deserts or Hawaii’s tropical plants?
Consider Midwest Living. Its gardening articles are
tailored to Michigan and its neighbors, and the articles are
clear with all needed basic information. For instance, an
article on Crape myrtles not only explains why the flower is
perfect and easy for Michigan, but also it tells where to get
Crape Myrtles. Consider buying a copy of the magazine—or better
yet a subscription. Bonuses: Traverse City is often a subject,
and reading about the Midwest makes us feel good about our home
territory. (Note: The Garden Lady lives in the Upper Peninsula
Short season gardening
Now time to ensure an early start to
your gardening season. Scout nurseries, order from catalogs and
online for plants and bulbs that are” early spring risers.” Look
for winter hardy plants, for instance, Canadian Bred Explorer
roses and others with superb hardiness. Buy spring flower bulbs
that come up through the snow and plant herbs like sorrel and
lovage, easy perennials that are the first to greet spring.
“I do not have to
lean or squat,
To garden in a
A basket full of
A mini-garden to
Color in a window
A bright array of
Four O’ Clocks
Pale water lilies
in a bowl
Are ample garden
for my soul.
--Sally D. Ketchum
“Sowe Carrets in your Gardens, and humbly praise God for them, as for a
singular and great blessing.”
Profitable Instructions for the Manuring,
Sowing and Planting of Kitchen Gardens, 1599.
We’ve mentioned garden stools that rock—great for seniors,
now we’ve found three-wheeled stools that move along the row with the
gardener because the wheels are parallel to the garden row. A tool tray
under the seat is an extra. If you can’t find these at your nursery, try
www.leevalley.com for further information.
Better known and very popular in
Europe, sorrel is rather rare in our gardens. Americans might try it in
their herb gardens. Sorrel is a perennial, but, from seed, is ready for
cream sauces (great for fish!), soups and salads in only 50 days. The
tender young leaves are best. Sorrel (“Oseille” in French, sometimes “Dock”
in English) is one of the first herbs up in spring. It has an acidic, sharp
flavor that some say it is reminiscent of citrus.
extra Idea for May!)
The first of May. Children hang a
small bouquet of flowers on the doorknob of their mother’s room in manner of
the old tradition. Mother’s Day is on the 14th. A “bouquet of
vegetables” is great fun for youngsters to make and pastel flowers are
always welcome. An inexpensive basket with a few seed packets of mother’s
favorite plants and a new trowel, always handy, makes a pleasant and useful
Mother’s Day gift.
Red and redder vegetables are the
healthiest. Beyond beets, botanists have developed more and better red
lettuces, chards and even carrots. Even pink grapefruits are healthier than
yellow ones. Look through the lettuces—the new “Revolution,” also “Red
Velvet,” “Red Fire” and classic “Red Sails” on seed racks. Further, all are
pretty enough to put into the flower gardens and planters!
Timer’s Garden Tips…
Cutworms on the tomato plants?
Three prevention tips: 1. Let weeds grow a little way from the plants to
give the worms alternative food. 2. Mix crushed eggshells in the soil
around the plants. 3. Mix salt and ashes together in equal parts and
sprinkle around stems.
on the garden bench
The $64 tomato: How one man nearly lost his sanity, spent a fortune and
endured an Existential crisis in the quest for the perfect garden.
William Alexander, Algonquin Books, $23. If you’re just considering
a garden, this book might enlighten you, that is to say you might prefer to
take up golf or hang gliding this summer. If you are an experienced
gardener, you know Alexander’s analysis might be exaggerated, but is
basically true. Tempting offerings of garden items, large or small,
inexpensive or costly, fill the stores and are never-ending. Experienced
rural gardeners insist that wildlife prefers the expensive plants.
Short Season Gardening
Although they are written for
gardeners who would like to sell vegetables and flowers on a small scale,
Cash from Square Food
and Andrew W. Lee’s
Backyard Market Gardening
have marvelous ideas to make the most
of not only small patches of land, but also of Michigan’s short season.
Horizon Books will search for these books if you cannot find them. They are
great for inspiration and innovation. Check out other books in the store’s
"Adopt the pace of nature;
her secret is patience."
Author and Gardener
Sally D. Ketchum
A Practical Student Success Guide for
by Sally D. Ketchum
Sally Ketchum is a Michigan
food and garden writer. She works in a large kitchen garden, two herb
gardens and borders with English roses.
Sally is also the author of
Super Student/Happy Kid,
a practical student success guide for everyone.