Cooler weather

Fall arrives late to south Louisiana, when it bothers to arrive at all.  Nearly a week’s worth of nighttime lows in the 40s and 50s encouraged most things in my garden to flower & seed.  The thai basil is a riot of ruffled purple flowers, and the flat garlic chives’ black seeds look like peppercorns.  Still, a lone japanese eggplant continues to flower & fruit, despite the too-cool temperatures.  Errant cool-weather plants (dill, bok choy, fennel) are beginning to pop up in various corners, legacy of my bad-gardener’s habit of allowing some plants to go to seed each season.  I like the little surprises….after a few years of this benign neglect, basil, dill, mint, and chives are as much a part of my yard as the St. Augustine grass.  No pesticides or herbicides and semi-regular mowing translates into a survival of the fittest, and it turns out that herbs are among the fittest of all, along with the tiny wild violets.

Hannah Holmes popularized the idea of “freedom lawns”, and it’s a concept I wholeheartedly support.  Just cut your lawn regularly, and allow whatever plants thrive in it to become a part of the mix.  Don’t fixate on the idea of a single-species grass monoculture as the ideal lawn–embrace the crabgrass, oxalis, dandelions, violets, torpedo grass, sedge, thyme, etc.  Think of the space as a “short meadow”, where diversity encourages bees & beneficial insects, while discouraging bad bugs and reducing chemical & water consumption.

I’m on blog hiatus; two weeks in Italy with limited internet access.  Maybe I’ll manage to post some gelato photos, maybe not.  Ciao….

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