Shining in September in my New England garden are the few annuals I planted and the harvest of peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables just now coming into their own. The peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes have taken their sweet time bearing fruit this season. Each season has its' challenges and this season was cool and rainy from June through July with hot, dry weather finally arriving in mid-August. The early cool, damp weather is great for the gardener as it is much easier to pluck weeds and deadhead without the glare of the relentless summer sun. The warm season vegetables suffered from lack of sunlight and excess moisture which causes many different leaf spot diseases. Fortunately, I didn't experience late blight on my tomatoes as many area gardeners did but my plants look like Charlie Brown had a hand in their cultivation. They are spindly with just a few fruit on each plant causing a bit of embarrassment to this gardener.
Nature humbles the gardener in a new way each season. Local weather reports indicated that of the thirty days in June, over twenty five were dull and gray. This affects not just fruit production but also the energy level of the gardener. I confess, I turned away from gardening for just a bit this summer. Cucumbers were planted twice and are just coming to maturity now. Tomatoes sat in their bed looking wretched and worn for most of the summer. The pepper plants are small and the few fruit they have produced are also less than expected.
I have gardened for many years and each season is different. I have learned that even an ugly plant can produce beautiful fruit. Gardeners rarely admit defeat. There is always next year. There is always something beautiful in bloom. Gardeners are optimists and even as the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers sulked and sighed, the cool loving vegetables thrived. The red leaf merlot lettuce and silver leeks planted in combination with the walking stick kale look elegant. The squash and beans are still producing for the table and the 'Heavenly blue' morning glories, poisonous though they are, climb in combination with the red flowered pole beans providing nourishment for the eyes and the soul. Those are the garden visions that I choose to remember from this season's planting. What are yours?