A Note From Rick | The Bounty and Beauty of Late Summer

September 18, 2023

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

It’s time to enjoy the bounty and beauty of late summer and early fall. Tomatoes, eggplants, green beans and peppers, especially, have been in abundance this season. We’ve been impressed by the “lunchbox” peppers, because they are sweet, bite-sized, multi-colored, early and produce like crazy.

In the past, peppers here have been troubled by bacterial leaf spot, a soil-borne disease. Once it appears, affected plants must be pulled and tossed. This year, we only planted resistant varieties and have had our best bell pepper crop ever.


Poblanos and hot peppers have also done well. A standout among the latter is a Thai chili called ‘Ascent.’ Growing 4-5 feet tall, it bears hundreds of upright red fruits and is so colorful, it could easily be featured in a fall border. We use it at the Herb Garden’s Culinary Bed entrance.

Though it’s gratifying to enjoy the fruits of our labors, it’s also important to sow plants for October and November harvest. Spinach, kale, arugula, turnips, radish, cilantro, lettuce, corn salad, and more all flourish in cool weather at the end of our long season and should be planted by the end of this month.


Bok choi, broccoli and Napa cabbage

Besides vegetables, we’ve also been enjoying delicious crops of summer fruits, like currants and elderberries, throughout the season.

Right now, Community Gardeners, visitors and our many feathered friends are savoring a bumper crop of raspberries and blackberries, which we’ve planted here and there throughout Bridge Gardens. The birds take their share, but there’s more than enough for all.


If you would like to know more about growing summer fruits in your landscape, come to our workshop on September 30, “Growing and Enjoying Fruiting Plants in Your Landscape” which will be led by Paul Wagner, owner of Greener Pastures Organics. Paul and I will share information so you too can enjoy berries and fruits from your garden.


Tall moor grass 'Windspiel'

September is when the beauty of ornamental grasses becomes apparent. The flowers and seed heads of natives like Indiangrass, switch grass, little bluestem and big bluestem really standout when backlit by early morning and late afternoon sunshine and combine well with late-flowering perennials like Japanese anemones and goldenrods.


Little Bluestem and red-plumed Indiangrass with pink Japanese Anemone

Gardens this time of year always remind me of the Fragonard panels at the Frick Museum. The gardens and landscapes in those paintings are overripe, a bit overgrown, and fecund to a fault. Almost everything in them is going to seed.

We now find the same at Bridge Gardens, especially along the periphery, so we’ve begun our annual weeding of those areas to release existing plantings from the smothering plants around them and to prepare for additional plantings, keeping the invasive plants at bay and encouraging the natives.

Lots to do at Bridge Gardens. And lots to see and experience. I hope to see YOU here soon.

~~~ Rick

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