I began my day today at 5:30am at one of the suburban gardens I am rehabilitating. It is July and the dewpoint is 70%, with the temperature at 74 degrees. To start any later would be folly,for there is little shade in this garden ,and it will be in the nineties by noon.
As I drove along Highway 70 and Harding Place to Green Hills this morning, I saw the dishevelment that is the lot of many Nashville yards and gardens. The dead shrubs sacrificed to the heat and the reluctance to water. The vines smothering the privet. The untrimmed hedges and weed filled rose beds. The only neatness and trimness were in the gated condo villages whose grounds were kept by landscape crews.
Every time we plant something we southern gardeners should ask ourselves “Will I want to take care of this in August?” It is a legitimate question in a climate that gives us 109 degree days and six rainless weeks, then overnight brings a monsoon season with daily rain that conjures up mushroom forests in the lawn. That gives weed seeds new life, and rots out our lamb’s ears in the front border-
And now some “before” photos,posted with the permission of the garden’s owner.
There are many fine plants here. “Valerie Finnis” artemesia, the hybrid musk rose”Penelope”, Jerusalem Sage, Linaria “Canon Went”, nepeta and other herbs. There is much worth saving. But it will be hot work, and all must be done before the July sun comes over the garden at 7:30 am.
And that is why I drive to work before dawn-