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Master Gardener: August gardening notes

I am sure anyone volunteering at the Fair this year has to be glad it’s over with. One cannot appreciate all the hours that go into putting on this local event each year. I thought it was an outstanding fair and my hat’s off to the Fair Board and all the volunteers for a job well done. By the way, Fr. Richard, is any of your grand champion cantaloupe left? I would love to have had a slice of it!

Golden rod is in bloom - can fall be far behind. Actually, with the weather we’ve had, did it ever really feel like summer until just the last couple days? Noticed that some species of trees are already turning color on the mountain. Tickseed sunflowers are just days away from blooming. Most asters are a little while off from blooming. Spotted a stand of native cardinal flower in bloom at a location which is inconspicuous enough to where it’s not likely to get dug up by some wildflower collector. Naturalized clematis with the tiny white bloom clusters is in bloom around the time of our fair. We just might have us a shortened fall with a rather quick jump into winter. Better get that firewood pile restocked soon!

One thing I did notice this summer at my house was an alarming lack of pollinators. It was reflected in my poor crops of cucumbers, squash and melons. A plus was that my fig did not freeze back and had a good crop and my muscadines produced for the first time. Blackberries and blueberries both did well this year. I understand the fall pecan crop over at the other farm will not be anything like the 2013 crop.

I will end this column with a salute to my father-in-law, Dallas Johnson, who passed away recently. He was a gardener extraordinaire who was not afraid to experiment with growing anything. He was growing kiwis way before anyone around here was familiar with them. He grew an impressive assortment of peppers, too. His garden produced a continuous supply and variety of vegetables which he was only too happy to share with others. Our loss is heaven’s gain…

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