Allen Lacy, in his wonderful book, The Garden in Autumn describes the beginning of the fall garden season as starting mid-August in his New Jersey garden. Bit by bit, the days are starting a little later and ending a little earlier, the fall’s coming show of color is appearing early on some trees and on the ground in random richly hued leaves.
August is when I really start to think (the operative word there is think) about next spring. Landscape designs (of significant size) that are started now won’t likely be constructed until after next winter’s thaw, spring blooming bulb offerings are sent to clients, plants that need to be moved or divided are mulled over, but not much gets physically done–it’s too hot, too muggy, or too many people are on vacation–take your pick. Since the abundance of the late summer harvest isn’t a factor–no veggies here–in my garden and that of my clients, time slows down now in anticipation of the coming cooler mornings and evenings.
I’m not really sure of why, but August reminds me of Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ants. I wonder if unlike the end that befell the unprepared grasshopper, this month of comparative idleness is part of the antlike preparation that will end happily with a burst of energy and renewal once the weather cools down and the garden bekons once again.