Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Goodbye to Summer Sun(flowers) September 17, 2008

While the rest of the country has been either pummeled by hurricanes or inundated with extreme heat, we in the Seattle area have been enjoying one of the loveliest, driest, warmest Septembers in memory. I think it has yet to rain a single drop this month, which may not be so great in the long run but, after our weirdly rainy and cool summer, is a welcome relief at the moment.

In theory, this should have kept my (volunteer) sunflowers going long into the fall. In reality, a hungry squirrel climbed them all and broke their necks, resulting in my street garden looking even more like a crazy person’s than usual.

My garden looks crazy

Okay, so the flowering/bent over leeks, empty snap pea teepee and general look of obvious neglect didn’t really help either, so I can’t really blame it all on the squirrel. I’ll just go ahead and admit that I didn’t do much in the way of garden maintenance this summer!

I finally decided it was just getting too embarrassing, though, so yesterday I went out and pulled up all the sunflowers, as well as the leeks (the latter make nice dried flowers).

In progress

(The green weed container at the top of that photo is an old pickle bucket my mom bequeathed to me – she used to get them from McDonald’s for free! No idea why they used to give them away – they don’t anymore. So it’s kind of like a treasured family heirloom. It’s sturdy as heck and doesn’t rot or rust if you leave it out in the rain.)

There were a couple of seed heads that hadn’t been completely devoured yet, although one had been partially consumed.

Decapitated sunflower heads

The entire time I was working, I could hear the squirrel up in the neighbor’s plum tree, probably doing the usual one-bite-and-drop-then-on-to-the-next routine. It was chattering and I imagined its little rodent brain wheels turning as it thought “what is that moronic woman doing with MY #%*&! LUNCH?!?” I left the decapitated flower heads out, so they’ll probably be finished by tomorrow.

Now there’s not much left in my veggie patch besides some very sad, yellow basil (I was out of town during a 90 degree hot spell, right after they were planted, so no amount of watering when I returned could bring them back to health), a few other herbs and the crazy fennel that refuses to bulb. Gotta get my winter veggie starts in before they get eaten by a snail!

Mostly cleared

The rains are supposed to begin this weekend, and Seattle will return to its normal, semi-gloomy self. We’ll all put on our Gore-tex jackets and hide indoors with our library books until next… July?! Until then, I’ll be dreaming of next year’s sunflowers.

All that's left


6 Responses to “Goodbye to Summer Sun(flowers)”

  1. Yumatzuga Says:

    Keep them growing. Sunflowers and blue skies are the best there is!

  2. jenn Says:

    Your sunflowers are lovely, it is nice to hear that Seattle had such a warm and dry summer. I hope you get your fall garden down, I just love the gardens of the Northwest. Particularly the front gardens, with plantings up to the street. It is just so refreshing! Thank you for your comments on my blog, I hope others feel the same.

  3. Cynthia Says:

    I have been enjoying this warm September as well Karen as my tomatoes are now ripening like crazy! Oregon is suppose to get rain this weekend as well or so they say. I hope our summer is not coming to an end just yet. I am not ready for the rain to settle in! 😦

    Your sunfower heads are HUGE! If those volunteered then they sure liked where they sowed themselves!

  4. Shibaguyz Says:

    We didn’t get our sunflowers in this year at all. Last year, however, we had beautiful sunflowers and hungry squirrels so we know where you’re coming from.

    We’ll meet ya in the fall and winter gardening section of the bookstore…

  5. Racquel Says:

    I gave up on sunflowers because of the squirrels. πŸ™‚ Good job on getting your winter garden started with the cleanup. It’ s hard to get motivated in the summer when it is so hot & miserable.

  6. greenwalks Says:

    Yumatzuga –

    You are so right! I haven’t even planted any for a few years, they just keep coming back from seeds scattered by critters the previous year.


    Jenn –

    Thanks! It’s a pretty great city for gardening, fairly forgiving climate and you can keep it interesting year-round without too much trouble.


    Shibaguyz –

    Well, there’s never enough space to plant everything you like! You had other fish to fry (or tomatoes, rather). Hm, I’m more likely to be found at the library than the bookstore these days, cheapskate that I am. πŸ™‚


    Racquel –

    I can see why you gave up. This year was the worst with the squirrels, they just broke all the necks and didn’t even eat that many seeds. Grrrr. I have no weather excuses for not doing the clean-up earlier, it wasn’t even that hot here. πŸ™‚

    – Karen

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