Gardening Matters

This August, I more than willing to turn my back on the whole gardening thing. It’s time for me to check in to rehab and deal with my gardening jones (I tell myself I can quit at any time, but I always go back to the compost pile).

I have been seeding, weeding, deadheading, planting and replanting, spreading compost, spreading mulch and fighting off deer, rabbits and zombie slugs (they walk among us) for months now. I am tired of it all.

As that famous gardener and blues-singing B.B. King so soulfully sang for us about gardening in August:

“The thrill is gone

It’s gone away from me

The thrill is gone, baby

The thrill is gone away from me

Although, I’ll still live on

But so lonely I’ll be”

OK, so maybe B.B. King wasn’t a famous gardener. But he really was raised on cotton farms in Mississippi in the 1920s-30s so I am pretty sure he knows all about the blues of late summer gardeners. And I’ve got a bad case this year.

I am trying to get excited about getting in a round of fall veggies. Maybe some fresh lettuce seedlings, a few beans and a little broccoli will cheer me up. Now is the time to do it, but I cannot even drag my sorry butt to the store to get supplies.

I am usually enjoying lots of tomatoes by now. But this year the tomatoes are just trickling in. My bean plants are thriving, but are s-l-o-w to bear fruit. I have to pick beans for a week or more just to get enough for my wife and me to eat one small serving. Many of my flowers, including my stalwart daisies, black-eyed susans and coneflowers, are struggling in the soggy ground. I can legitimately blame it all on the rain and overcast days we have had lately. We are just not getting enough direct sun and simmering hot days to drive the fruiting and ripening process. But that doesn’t ease the pain of a late-August garden.

But that’s the thing about gardening. We always have next year to look forward to. My next year’s garden-to- be is a place of horticultural bounty full of health, happiness and well-being. The fall garden catalogues are pouring in and they bear testimony to endless wonderful possibilities if I just buy their seeds, plants and accessories.

And I, like the hapless Charlie Brown, fall for the same trick every year. Such is the tragic fate of gardeners.

Segueing awkwardly to speak of future wonders let me tell you about the Dunwoody Nature Center’s annual fall plant sale. We are busy right now putting together our selection of plants to sell this year. We will focus on great native plants for our area that are not usually found in the big box stores. The list of plant offerings will be on Dunwoody Nature Center’s website by Sept. 6. Ordering and payment is done on-line from Sept. 6 to Oct. 5. You can pick up your plants at the Nature Center on Friday/Saturday Oct. 11-12.

This plant sale really is a good chance to get interesting, healthy native plants that you won’t easily find elsewhere. And the prices are reasonable. You’ll also be supporting the work of a wonderful community organization.

Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 30 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive. He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group. He can be reached at

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