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Autumn Chives

Chives are a powerful asset in any garden. Their leaves can be eaten, adding a fresh onion-like flavor to a meal when lightly cooked. They grow in tight bunches and seed freely, filling in spaces nicely and reducing the amount of weeding necessary. They also flower generously, giving early spring nectar to pollinators still recovering from the winter’s fast.

Chives are a natural part of the spring’s progression of blossoms, coming in reliably between tulips and day lilies. This reliability helps gardeners plan for a reasonable seasonable routine, keeping a steady supply of blossoms going, all the way from snowmelt to frost.

This year, though, the chives in my garden aren’t behaving as they ordinarily do. This morning, I noticed that the chives are preparing an end-of-summer and early autumn bloom. I suspect this is happening because the growing year began so extraordinarily early this year – in late January instead of in late March. So, while the presence of September chive blossoms themselves isn’t unpleasant, their reminder of the significant shift in climate we’re seeing is unnerving, and brings to mind questions of what kind of winter we’ll have this year. Unpredictability grows into insecurity, in the garden.

Are you seeing any surprises in your garden now, as we’re moving quickly toward autumn?

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