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October 2, 2009

Hawthorn Hill: Some end of summer thoughts

Gardeners love to swap information with one another. They also find solace in sharing their woes. It is always comforting to know that one is not alone, that others have suffered through similar setbacks.

It is much more fun to chat about successes. But failures do have their virtues and if one takes a long view of things they can be quite instructive.

The optimistic side of my brain certainly hopes that is the case. My garden notebook is already filling up with next year’s do’s and don’ts.

The clinker is remembering to look at them come spring. I have always been more adept at planning than the more crucial step, carry through.

A close friend has characterized this as the ``summer of the cucumber.’’ By that he means that everybody seemed to have had bumper cucumber crops despite the lousy weather through most of July and August.

That has been the case up here on the hill. Friends and family have walked off with oodles of cucumbers and every time we visit our kids in New York and Boston they get a load of cukes, like it or not.

The only downside to cucumber summer has been the late arrival of a powdery mildew that is gleefully dusting the foliage of quite a few plants. The good news is the harvest is in.

The bad news is that it is an augury of summer’s end and winter’s imminence that is a bit hard to swallow, especially now that we are experiencing the summer we never had.

As I observed to a friend last week, nature always gets its way. Our only option is to roll with her always unpredictable punches.

This summer will certainly be remembered for the late blight that devoured all of our tomatoes.

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