I don't garden in the summer

nandina(8b)January 1, 2002

Here in the Low Country of SC. summer gardening is ugly. Heat, humidity, bugs, gnats. So, most of my gardening is confined to fall, winter and spring. At the moment all is growing well. Lettuce and cole crops are happy. Roses are blooming. Camellias in the height of bloom. Big pots of parsley in the gardens. Snapdragons, Coleus, Serissa, New Zealand Tea tree, Dianthus, petunias, blueberries, early Viburnums, some azaleas, pansies, Rosemary, all in full bloom.

But, I look forward to winter for another reason. We back directly onto a shallow salt water lake which reaches as far as I can see. It is bordered by ancient live oaks that arch out over the water and are evergreen. The lake is too shallow for boats and there are no buildings to mar the view. The water level is tidal and controlled by a dam which keeps the water clean and at the proper height. In the winter when the ocean cools and the fish seek lower levels, the ocean birds move into the shallow lakes such as ours. It is an amazing sight! All the Herons and gulls, Pelicans and waders. Wood storks and many types of ducks winter here. Osprey and a pair of Bald Eagles soar overhead. Hundreds of birds! Exciting to watch! Winter gardening is wonderful here!

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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

"summer gardening is ugly. Heat, humidity, bugs, gnats" -- you have my sympathy.

In the PNW, spring, summer, and fall are the main gardening seasons, but winter isn't shabby either. Right now, my camellias, too, are blooming (and will keep going until June), and I still have a few late roses. Winter cherry, pink viburnum, green hellebore, sarcococca, ceanothus, primroses, and winter jasmine are also flowering.

Your saltwater lake sounds great. We have a tidewater lagoon down by the Bay, but with not nearly as much wildlife. How exciting to be able to enjoy such diversity!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 12:58AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Here we have spring and fall gardening, with "puttering" in the summer. Winter is a total write-off. We just repair tools, tighten bolts, clean trowels and look at nursery catalogues. The only green in my garden right now is my bamboo, the evergreen yews, pachysandra and azaleas, and hellebores.

But, I'm just a half mile from the ocean, and even closer to a saltwater estuary that brings in many kinds of sea ducks (scoters, goldeneyes, widgeons), cormorants, egrets and the occasional harbor seal. Even in the middle of winter, there is an interesting land-and-seascape.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 1:43PM
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ferretma(PNW Z8)

John - - -

>In the PNW, spring, summer, and fall are the main
>gardening seasons, but winter isn't shabby either.

Summer gardening in the Northwest??? The only thing summer is good for is hiding inside with air conditioning and a cold drink.

In the last few weeks, I've been busy planting Highbush Cranberry, Oregon Grape, Yellow-eyed grass, Evergreen huckleberry, Oceanspray, Douglas Meadowfoam, and Currants. I'd much rather plant stuff in the rain than on a warm day.

In another thread, Trudi said:
"As long as the ground isn't frozen and I can muck around in it I will. It makes up for summer here when fifteen minutes outside in 90+ degrees instantly wilts me."

Ditto here. Only make that 75+ degrees. Maybe I should move further north. :)


    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 1:16AM
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rebaru(z5 QC)

I grew up in South Carolina, and when we were kids air-conditionaing wasn't ubiquitous. I left before ever gardening, but I mostly remember glorious springs, which came much and much earlier than the Quebec springs I now wait for. I love the dramatic changes of season here, and I think I prefer having mostly pleasant summer weather and snowy winters to the heat of my childhood. Though winter isn't nearly as supportable towards the end of March when it seems spring will never come.

I have planted bulbs for my first spring in my first garden, and I do hope it comes early this year.

I would love to see Charleston now in the winter - I had no idea so much was happening in gardens.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 11:56AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)


"The only thing summer is good for is hiding inside with air conditioning and a cold drink."

Not in my part of the maritime PNW. Around here, summer temps. rarely rise above 75° F, which makes summer gardening a delight. Since the ground rarely freezes in winter, I do most of my new plantings in Jan. and Feb.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2002 at 3:47PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

Doesn't it rain there, John? I garden year round here in the bay area of CA. with 2 exceptions... I don't do a lot in August because it's too hot and dry, and when the clay soil is too wet, which it is right now with our past few weeks of rainstorms. I was itching to get out there the last few days....the sun was out and it was dry. Unfortunately, the soil wasn't. Ahhh well....I resigned myself to doing some pruning and making some starts.
I also cleaned the cyclamen, picked some lettuce, lemons, herbs and sweet peas for tonight's dinner.
Watched the hummers sucking nectar from the salvia's. No lack of bloom here.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 2:00AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

Yeah, it does rain (though we got less rain last month than some parts of CA I drove through). On the average, we get about as much precipitation as Santa Rosa. But our winters are a tad cooler, and our summers are much cooler. We rarely get very cold or hot weather, which makes for great year-round gardening.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 3:09PM
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