We're on the threshold of September, so over the next couple of months, we'll observe the gradual morphing of late summer into early autumn-- but the emphasis is solidly on "gradual". Still, the end of summer heat/humidity is in sight (thank goodness).
As the season winds down, I'm trying to think more about what the next steps in the garden's development should be. Which plants should be divided and/or moved-- and where to? Where should I expand the garden and by how much? Which new plants do I want to add this autumn or next spring? There are many more I'd like to try than I actually will, for a couple of reasons-- one being the cost of plants; another is the wish to avoid biting off more than I can chew.
There are so many possibilities to consider and so many circumstances to juggle and weigh and keep always "in mind"! Limitations of space (or the amount of space I'm willing to maintain). Quirks of the soil (sand in one area, clay in another). The strictures set by the location of the septic pad (and the limited types of plants that can/should be planted on it). Sunlight and water requirements. Shifting areas of shade and sun as trees and shrubs grow taller and wider. The uncertainty of a particular plant's eventual size. Etc.
When we play board games, Donald sometimes jokes that I'm suffering from "analysis paralysis"-- weighing options and pondering possible outcomes to the point that I have trouble making a decision in a timely fashion.
I'm afraid this is something that affects me in many areas of life-- gardening included. After all that effort of trying to identify the Perfect Solution, I usually end up doing what feels like simply going with my gut. (I say it "feels" like making a gut decision, but I also wonder if all the time spent thinking hasn't informed my decision in some way, after all. Is it a different gut decision than the one I'd have made without all the analyzing?)
Thinking before acting is usually wise, of course. (There are still plenty of times when I haven't thought things through and end up having to go back and re-do something-- sometimes with a time-consuming or labor-intensive result.) But there is definitely also a point at which I'm better off just making a decision already and dealing with whatever consequences may follow. The trick is finding a comfortable, effective balance.
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Let's take a break from the analysis paralysis with few photos from this weekend. ;o)
This volunteer crepe myrtle has begun to bloom in a color unlike any of my existing crepe myrtles (which are all either white or some shade of red). The nearest crepe myrtle is 'Victor' (dwarf, "dark red" flowers). I'm not sure where this one will end up, but I'll find somewhere for it to go. I can't bring myself to throw it away, now that I know it's this pinkish lavender...
Mina lobata continues blooming.
This is part of the front yard/garden-- a part in need of attention. I've let it go, most of the summer, and weeds have taken over. (Ugh. If it weren't for those infernal weeds!)
In this area: leatherleaf mahonia, crepe myrtle (maybe 'Tonto'?), sago palm, some sort of creeping juniper?, variegated pittosporum (I think), and an ash tree. Further in the back, there are pine trees, wax myrtles, anything that has managed to escape the mower (maybe beautyberry), and whatever else is growing beyond the fence in the woods.
Banana shrub, loropetalum, rose of sharon (with mina lobata growing through it), pines.
Trixie on her way to offer Eskie greetings.
Before she could make it all the way over, Luna caught up with her.
The 'Little Gem' magnolias are revealing their beautiful, bright red seeds.
Gaillardia (Indian blanket).
I'm not sure I love the pairing of the red KO rose (right next to these, but not in the photo) with the truer red and bright yellow of the blanket flower. I might try transplanting the blanket flowers elsewhere in the garden...
They're supposed to be drought tolerant, so maybe some of the other sandier areas would be good candidates. Even if I move them I suspect some new plants might come up where these are now, since they're supposed to be prolific reseeders.
Speaking of the red KO rose, here it is in the next photo.
See how it's more of a "very dark pink" red instead of the more orange-y red of the blanket flower? I'm not too picky about flower colors in a garden, but maybe I should be a little more particular...
Up to this point, harmonious color combinations took a backseat to the humbler goal of just getting something "real" (i.e. not weeds) to fill in the flower beds. Now may be the time to start making adjustments toward more pleasing juxtapositions.
...Something else to trigger the ol' analysis paralysis, eh? ;o)