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Cape May Garden Journal: Summer Blooms

By Jane Kashlak
Cape May Times Garden Columnist

August 5, 2004 - Walk into our Cape May garden right now and see a cacophony of color - electric phlox, pale yellow hollyhocks, bright as the sun helianthus, silvery blue Russian Sage.

Our summer perennials are blooming their hearts out. The sad part - it won't last long.

We don't tell a new visitor to the garden, as she ooh's over the flowers, that she's lucky she got here when she did - that if she had arrived just two or three weeks from now, the brash color wheel that she's looking at would be toned down substantially.

Cape May's dog days of August are fast approaching and even the sturdy black eyed susans will fade rather than bear up under the brunt of late summer's scorching sun and heat.

Such is the life of a perennial gardener.

We look at the garden plot in January and see, not bare earth, but all the potential of what could be and will be, come July.

We carefully watch in the early days of spring for those old friend perennials to poke their heads back above the earth .

We welcome them, water them, weed them, guard them.

And we wait.

Finally, after the rush of delicate, pastel spring blooms, the summer shows its colors.

Stronger, more daring than the spring flowers, the Phlox and perennial sunflowers and Rudbeckia and Verbena assert themselves.

On paper, the colors should clash but in the garden, they blend like a well composed symphony.

And we revel in them.

We try very hard to live in the moment and forget that soon, all too soon, the colors will fade.

We think, always, that this year will be different. That the phlox will continue to bloom until October. That the hollyhocks will go until frost. That this is the year we'll have sunflowers at Thanksgiving.

That the summer blooms will last forever.

Anything is possible, but experience tells us to take a walk in the garden and get some good long looks right now.

We probably won't be seeing these old friends again until next year.

Check future Cape May Garden Journals to see how our garden grows.

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