September and October were a blur for me, were they for you? I find myself wondering if I'm even enjoying nature as intensely I should be, or want to be, feeling distracted by a million other things right now. I savor the moments I can get and realize the garden will continue on without me.
Part of it is that I've been thinking deeply the last few months, putting some effort when I could, to write an essay that was recently published over on my blog entitled How can you grow native plants if there aren't native plants to buy? I won't write a synopsis here as I do want you to read it and let me know in the comments there, or reply to this email, your thoughts. It's been a subject I've been broiling about for a long while but finally decided to start writing about it and talking about it more this summer. It's made me want to immerse myself deeply into habitat restoration in my own yard, more than we've done, but also become more active in protecting undeveloped lands. I'm just unsure how to go about doing that other than getting involved politically and well, if my dad couldn't get me to join student council in high school, I sure as hell am not running for local office in my 40s! So, how can we get gardeners more involved politically and involved in conservation efforts? It's more of that deep thinking that I'll be writing about more in the future. To be honest, I would like to have those ideas spread in other publications than just my blog so if anyone has connections or ideas of whom to submit my writing to, please let me know!
The last few months the edible garden has been graced by two giant tithonias, also known as Mexican sunflower. I planted them alongside some other sunflowers as a pollinator plant and once the sunflowers faded the tithonias took over. The first grew to 13' tall and ended up snapping at the base. I was devastated as were the butterflies and bees that had been enjoying the blooms. Then about six weeks later the second tithonia, which had been freed from the dappled shade of the first plant, grew nearly as large. This time I staked it a bit and then still found it leaning one afternoon. Over the last month I spent a lot of time with various rebar and poles trying to keep that thing upright so that all of the late season pollinators could keep on going, but yesterday I called it. It was over. I was tired of the never ending staking and so my tithonia friend is now in the compost bin. I'll have to re-think how to get them upright next year! However, all of the brassicas I had growing underneath are finally free to absorb more sunlight. It actually worked out pretty well, though, to have the brassica seedlings under the shade of the tithonias for late August through late October because they managed to avoid the harsh sunlight and heat we have during those months.
But now it is time for a new season.
How was your growing season this year? Successes and failures? Or maybe you can tell me how to overcome this intense sadness that we're never going to adjust our ways and habitat is going to continue being lost and all the gardening in the world won't compensate for it all? Hit reply to this email and come wallow with me or tell me how you've overcome it by being strident in some form of activism. Do we do it all for the insect life and just hope for the best?
Elsewhere in the Natural World...
+Roselle Syrup via Edible Houston -- I made this the other night as an alternative to drying my roselle and it is so delicious!
+Portrait of a Neighbor via Turtle Paradise
+Okeefenokee: Heavy and Precious via Bitter Southerner
+Don't tell me that a garden is not political: My experience as a woman in horticulture via Amateur Bot-Ann-Ist
+Blackberry Rain via The Task at Hand
Finally, as always, if you enjoyed this newsletter and would like your fellow gardeners to know about it, forward it on and encourage them to subscribe!
The podcast is back! Two new episodes are out with more coming in November!
+Nature Journaling Basics for Gardeners and Budding Naturalists
+Native Backyards with Haeley Giambalvo
+The Horticulturati aka: Colleen Dieter and Leah Churner
+Native Plants vs Horticulture (an audio version of the blog post I reference above)
+Best Gardening Books of 2022
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Thanks for linking to my post! I had a wonderful gardening season with great weather, and few bugs and diseases. However I read lots of posts on Facebook from other Ohio gardeners complaining about how terrible weather and pests ruined the season. So either garden problems vary immensely from site to site or gardeners' perceptions do. Probably both!