Oh where, oh where has my summer gone?

Remember just a month ago?It was hot.We were thankful for air conditioning.

We slurped Popsicles and jumped in the fountain at City Plaza, frightening children.

I wanted to do more of all of that.

But no. The Friday concerts in the park have come and gone, I’ve used my raincoat, the solar garden lights are on when I get home, I wear socks to bed.

I want more summer.

At the big-box store, the stack of spring bulbs is getting smaller. Because I hope to buy a house soon, I passed the rack quickly, fingers clenching the cold metal cart.

Just a few steps farther and I arrived at the big-box land of Christmas ornaments.

What the heck?

Not only is summer gone, but it’s already Christmas? There were so many more things I wanted to do and see and taste this summer …

After lingering for a moment in the more-ism mindset, I had to move on.

If every summer was the penultimate series of seemingly endless, joyful surprises, wouldn’t all future summers be a big disappointment?

Much better to have the mindset of “what’s next?”


A retrospective

Luckily, I have a kind and patient boyfriend.

“What did we do this summer?” I asked, feeling funky and using a tone that implied it was somehow his fault.

After the anticipated sigh, he helped me make a summer gratitude list:

Kayaking, tomatoes, gophers, open mic nights, farmers markets, camping, Lake Almanor in Dan’s boat, Mt. Lassen, osprey, dragonflies, fireworks, Tahoe with Lisa, Cafe Flo, Cafe Coda, university peaches, Butcher Shop, county fairs, house hunting, corpse flower and migrating salmon.

That helped put it all into perspective.


What’s next?

About this time, most people are buying bulbs and turning up our noses at the Christmas ornaments on sale. It’s easy to forget to sow seeds of biennial plants.

I have in my head that Sept. 29 is the perfect date for planting foxglove by seed, or if you prefer, Digitalis in Latin.

This is one of the coolest plants. The leafy base, which looks a lot like romaine lettuce, grows rapidly in the spring, spreading to about two feet in diameter. Then the spikes begin to form, reaching about four feet at their prime.

The importance of planting now is that foxglove are biennials. This means if you plant in spring, they won’t bloom until the following year.

Others on the biennial list include Canterbury bells, some dianthus (sweet William), poppies and hollyhocks.

Seeds of foxglove won’t germinate when it’s banefully hot. Also, the seeds need light to germinate, so gently press them into the soil.

Of note: I’ve had excellent success gathering seed pods after spring bloom. The flower stalk will start to dry and if you catch it just right, you can lop off the entire flower stalk and place it into a manilla folder.

About now, walk casually through the yard and shake the contents on bare spots, not to be confused with bald spots.

Poppies are also on the list for planting now, and then forgetting until spring.

For years I’ve carried poppy seeds in my car and poked them in the ground during walks in the neighborhood, and even flicked them out the window while driving.

Now when I see a dazzling display on the side of the road, I think, “hey, maybe I planted those.”

The most rewarding poppies are those that grow in the cracks in my alley.

While you’re at it, a big box of spring-blooming wildflowers can be dumped here and there. Most packages advise gently raking the seeds into the soil, then letting the rain do its dance.

I don’t know where I’ll be next spring. Yet, if I buy a house this winter it will make me very happy to drive by my “old house,” and see wildflowers blooming.


And yet to come …

I’ll be on the hunt for fantabulous fall displays of color. If you drive by some amazing-looking trees, let me know on Twitter or Facebook, or better yet, send a digital photo.


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