July is truly my most treasured time in the garden. There is so much abundance. The flowers are resplendent, the animal and bird watching are great fun, but most importantly there are people. I have long said in my landscape design courses that people get caught up in designing great flower beds, butterfly gardens, or bird sanctuaries but so often forget about the most important component – “Us”. I have been to quite a few splendid gardens, filled with spectacular plants yet for people there will be only a small table and four chairs stuck out in the middle of the lawn as an after-thought. People are also an integral part of the garden and so, as gardeners, we have to figure out what kinds of things humans like, so that they will be attracted and stay a while in the garden as well.
I love my garden and would force friends that came to our house in the summer to sit outside. But that only lasted for a couple of hours as before long everyone would be back inside looking out. Humans like soft padded chairs, light, and heat. They are easily spooked, so mosquitoes and bees are public enemy number one. Water sounds are soothing but the smell of food is the clincher. Heartbreakingly enough, flowers only hold their attention so long. Definitely while shopping in the greenhouses this summer, look at furniture. There are amazing sets out there now with long lasting outdoor fabrics. Candles, lanterns, and lighting systems are very affordable and create a luminous ambiance during the evening. Gazebos with included mosquito netting are available in all the box stores. Electric or propane outdoor heaters are a must. Heaters extend your evening enjoyment but they also extend your season as you can sit outside earlier in the spring and later in the fall. You may be repulsed at the idea of having to attract humans, as most gardeners think of them as being quite destructive, but in doing so you might end up spending even more time outside yourself.