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NATURE’S TURN: The gardener’s art — gathering visions and vegetables

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By Monday, Aug 29 Home & Garden More In Real Estate
Judy Isacoff
Butternut squash, August 18, 2016.

August 29 – September 11, 2016

 

Japanese anemone, foreground; phlox, above., August 25, 2016. Photo: Judy Isacoff.

Japanese anemone, foreground; phlox, above., August 25, 2016.
Photo: Judy Isacoff.

Mt. Washington — Riotous gusts sweep through tall, flower-topped stems in the sunny, late-summer garden. It’s a sea of swirling, swaying, bending and bowing pink, lavender, rouge and purple waves. Together with the muffled roar emanating from the ruffled canopy of the surrounding forest, the impression is of the ocean stirred by tide and wind. I’m transported by the movement and by alluring visual overtones created by the related hues and the distinctive flower forms of the plants growing in front of my eyes every day.

In contiguous beds, this grouping of varied heights, foliage and density of bloom includes an heirloom (hand-me-down) phlox, wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), native vervain (Verbena hastate) and Japanese anemone (Anemone tomentosa, ‘Berkshire charm’). The latter is a hearty strain developed by Dennis Mareb of Windy Hill Farm, Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington.

Matt’s Wild Cherry, Black Cherry and Sungold tomatoes, August 20, 2016. Photo: Judy Isacoff.

Matt’s Wild Cherry, Black Cherry and Sungold tomatoes, August 20, 2016.
Photo: Judy Isacoff.

While so much of the garden is blooming and subtly going to seed, 5-feet, 6-inch tall rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) exhibits sculpted flower buds that have been developing for months and offer the promise of luxuriant September blossoms. The same height and breadth, a deep pink aster (Aster novae angliae ‘September Ruby’) is in full bud with one sun-yellow centered, rose ray flower shining in my yard. Along streams and in the garden, native white and pink turtleheads (Chelone glabra and Chelone obliqua) are poised to color the last days of August and all of September.

Red and yellow beets, August 8, 2016. Photo: Judy Isacoff.

Red and yellow beets, August 8, 2016. Photo: Judy Isacoff.

Purple morning glories cascade from a horizontal support attached to a wire column in which Sungold tomatoes ripen in profusion. The tomato harvest is on and freezing and canning salsa and sauces is underway. With enough tomatoes and zucchini accumulating, zucchini enchiladas are on the menu at my house. I follow a recipe in Janet Ballantyne’s “The Joy of Gardening Cookbook” and find many tips on the internet (see Resources, below).

Dry weather persists in my location, necessitating daily watering of recently sown carrot, radish, beet, lettuce and arugula seed. As day length decreases, I’m also pouring collected rainwater on the root zone of plants that appear to need a boost in order to mature before frost, especially winter squashes, cabbages, fennel and radicchio lettuce.

There’s still time to plant more radishes and broadcast seeds of lettuce, spinach and Asian greens in beds where alliums, spring beets and potatoes grew. Procure seeds for cover crops: winter wheat, oats, crimson clover and winter rye, among others, should be sown as soon as crops are harvested.

Upcoming events:

September 19 – Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper: http://berkshiregrown.org/harvestsupper/

September 23 through 25 – Common Ground Country Fair: http://www.mofga.org/TheFair/GeneralInformation/tabid/104/Default.aspx

Resources:

New England Wildflower Society: http://www.newfs.org/visit/Garden-in-the-Woods/bloomboard.html/?searchterm=rose%20mallow

Turtleheads: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/chelone_glabra.shtml
and http://www.finegardening.com/turtlehead-chelone-obliqua
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c100

Asters: https://www.bluestoneperennials.com/ASSR.html?id=3pQ7sF66

Food preparation –
Janet Ballantyne, Joy of Gardening Cookbook, Garden Way, 1994
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/202885/bountiful-garden-zucchini-enchiladas/
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Squash-Blossom-Soup
http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/2721/golden-squash-blossom-crema-crema-de-flores-de-calabaza


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