Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cool nights and warm days

Today is the day gardeners have been waiting for - waking up to crisp, cool air that promises relief from the brutal heat and humidity that makes gardening in the summer in the South a challenge. For four months, we've been sweating enough to water a garden full of bromiliads - and that's no fun. The sweating, that is.

For those of us who are especially susceptible to heat because of age or health, October - now just a week away - is a month filled with promise. We can work for hours instead of minutes at a time. We don't have to wear cool towels around our neck or caps with sweat bands. We can stay hydrated without keeping a gallon of water at our side.

Best of all, we can look forward to 8 months of good weather - minus about 8-10 weeks of cold - before the heat starts up again.

Most plants are happy to see the cooler weather as well. No more mid-day wilting and scorched leaves. As the weather grows cooler still, established plants that have been putting all their energy into producing leaves and blooms can use that energy to store up for next spring.

Fall is a great time for planting shrubs and ornamentals because it gives plants time to establish a strong root system before depleting energy stores on new growth next year.

Good-bye summer. Hello fall. Your gardening friends are happy to see you!

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