Springtime in September

By Linda Wiggen Kraft Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

Of course in St. Louis, it is never springtime in September, but this year we need to make it feel like it.  If it has not been the hottest summer of record, it certainly felt like it.  Not only was it uncomfortable for people, there have been numerous tree, shrub and plant deaths due to the heat and lack of water.  Which makes September this year, a year to treat the gardens and landscapes as if it were spring.

Sometimes when summer has been hard, there is a tendency to give up until next year, and walk away from the garden.  But this year our gardens need springtime enthusiasm to help them recover from a hard summer.  They also need our love, right now.  There is a certain healing we need and our gardens need that can only take place by being out there digging in the dirt and nurturing the garden with care.

It begins with simple maintenance. Most likely there are things to cut back and pull out.

A simple clean up will freshen the garden.  This is the perfect time to really look at the flowers and plants close up.  There is a sacred intimacy of being so close.  Things you never see while at a distance are right  in front of your face. While cleaning up, also note which plants did well in the heat, and which didn’t.  This information helps in choosing plants for the future, because most likely summers like this won’t be the last.

Bare spots can be filled with new plants. September is a great time to plant perennials. The soil is warm and roots will get established for winter.  Dividing perennials and planting them now, helps get the garden ready for next year.  Bulbs that will bloom next spring and summer can go in now. Fall planting of late crops can be done in the vegetable garden.  These include beets, broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, and bush beans.  Plant the seeds a little deeper and water to keep them moist as they germinate and grow.

Spend some time in the garden, just being there.  Sit quietly, meditate if you like, open your heart to all there is in the garden.  Listen to the sounds and absorb the sights, breathe in the beauty. What you experience by working and being in the garden is somewhat like the glass half empty or half full. What may have looked like a wasteland from a scorching hot summer, through new eyes may be full of beauty, growth and life.

Linda is a mandala artist and garden designer who uses the wisdom of many traditions in her work.  Visit her website: www.gardensforthesoul.com or (314) 504-4266.