John Zvirovski / Sun Garden Editor
The holidays always have something for each one of us to reflect on from year to year. Whether it is the way you decorate your tree, the colors you choose or the food you prepare, there is something we each hold special in our own journeys. Some items present a euphoric sense, some things are soothing to the soul, while others seem to hold an intense mystery that always make us wonder. The item of mystery for me, comes in the form of the mistletoe.
If you are looking for some cheap entertainment during this fall season or need a little time out, pull up a chair to the window and observe the squirrels running around the yard. They are very active this time of year gathering their food sources to make it through the winter.
It won’t be long before the calendar is telling us that we need to change gears to autumn. The trees are already showing their first signs of color and the month seems to be flying by once again! This is another time for change both in the garden itself and the region.
Any plant that has a name like The Marvel of Peru needs to be in my garden! Not only does it sound pretty, but it also sounds so exotic! Many people are more familiar with its common name of four o’clocks. Four o’clocks have been around for centuries and are native to the tropical regions of Peru. As the beauty became more known, it was dispersed into the European countries, followed by many of the rest.
Every year there seems to be a plant that catches my eye, some years there are more than others, but I am always intrigued by the new varieties. Begonias are always a hit with me as they are showy plants that come in large or small sizes. Some are good for sun whereas most others are ideal for shady locations. The angel wings are one of my favorite with their red, pink or white blooms that hang down in pendulous clusters. The fibrous begonias are small but are loaded with blooms and thrive in either shade or sun.
The summer season brings many of us to the lakes within the region either to recreate, relax or just cool off from the heat. Most of these lakes are surrounded by trees with cabins, homes, massive estates and resorts. Some are open to the public, and some have more private access. On the lakes that we do have access for swimming and boating, we witness many different types of aquatic plant life that grows above the surface of the water. Common items that we are familiar with are the bulrushes, cattails and water lilies.
The flowers in the garden are in full bloom from now until the autumn frost arrives. Let’s just hope that we don’t see that until mid-October this year. We had a late start, so a late end would be so nice. Every day I find myself taking a 15-minute walk around to see what is new in the garden for the day. Sometimes there are big changes and other times there are few, but all times there are changes. I find if I miss a day, or even a full weekend, that there are some things that bloomed and I missed for the year.
There is no other flowering annual that can boost a person’s ego like the petunia. It is a very reliable flower that blooms from spring until frost with the greatest of ease. From the first to the final blooms, they give one a sense of accomplishment in the gardening world. I personally love the flower because it has so many colors and uses for the landscape. Plus, it always makes me feel good to see a plant do so well in my garden.
Sumac makes a great specimen planting in the landscape, but many people are not familiar with this plant until it changes color in the roadside ditches with its brilliant red colors during autumn. Many people often refer to it as a shrub or small tree that can become invasive in the wrong areas, so make sure where you plant it, it has barriers.
The availability of that mouthwatering, succulent, buttery taste of sweet corn is a common delight in the late summer activities that surround most of us. You can get it at the local farmer’s market, in the stores, via roadside stands, at county and state fairs and even in your own garden. It is one of those wonderful vegetables that is easy to grow and always rewards us with ears of corn too numerous to eat all at once.