things to do in August

“And so, to the amateur gardener’s eternally repeated question ‘When should I?’ and ‘What’s the best time to?’ I’ve concluded that nine times out of ten the answer is ‘When you’re thinking about it; when you’re in the mood.'”

“This, I realize, is the last thing he wants to be told, because it is an adult answer and the amateur, in whatever the subject, will long remain a child, seeking advice and guide-lines in the form of clear-cut, black-and-white answers to his manifold doubts. To be told that it doesn’t matter is unsettling. The kind answer to ‘When should I?’ is ‘Do it on 31 March.'”

This is the late Christopher Lloyd writing in The Well-Tempered Garden, making fun of gardening columns (something that would not go over so well in this country) and even though, as I said just a little while ago, I do try to make a habit of planting out seedlings in August, most chores in the garden can be put off until you feel like it. (Watering is a glaring exception.)

I believe that it’s now time to give serious consideration to taking down the oriole feeder. The birds have left. Someone into birds said September 15 was the usual last day for orioles in Denver, but the orioles disappear from my garden about this time every year.

And no wonder. Another creature has found the grape jelly, one I suspect not very much concerned about sharing.

pigs at a trough

This is the white-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata, really a yellow jacket (North America has no true hornets), and not small. They seem to think it’s funny to buzz the person who puts the jelly in the feeder, or chase him into the house when he takes the feeder in to clean it.

I almost got hit in the head by a sugar-crazed hummingbird earlier this evening, but sugar-crazed hornets who take a strong exception to being photographed while they swill grape jelly are a different story altogether.

I’m not really afraid of them, but I did decide not to take up hornet photography as a hobby. The feeder will come down tomorrow.

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2 Responses to things to do in August

  1. We had yellow jackets galore all over our hummingbird feeder last fall….Allan took it it, but it’s been back out again for ages, so I don’t really know the whole story!

    • paridevita says:

      One drawback with hummingbird feeders. At certain times in the summer I would have to run out and grab the feeder, and run back inside with a swarm of yellow jackets following me.

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