It’s Sunday morning in what promises to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining and, thankfully, there is low humidity. The Obamas have arrived 
. . . welcome back. I’m fascinated by all the hoopla about the inconvenience of travel. I’m happy to live in a place that attracts presidents. Riding along Middle or North Road for a week? People . . . please. Is this a problem?

Gardens are not looking their absolute best. Most of the astilbes have gone by with the exception of “pumila.” This is a dwarf Chinese cultivar with lilac-pink flowers. It is one of the last to bloom. It forms a low carpet of foliage and therefore is a great ground cover. Only about 10 inches tall, it works on the edge of a border. Also, the daylilies have seen better days. Granted, there are several cultivars which will rebloom, but most have finished their annual performance. Deadleafing and removing spent stalks goes a long way in spiffing up the perennial border. For heaven’s sake do not cut them yet. It’s unattractive and the leaves still look good and keep feeding the roots for next year.

The Goldstrum rudbeckia is at it’s peak. Keep an eye on it, though. It spreads everywhere and is hard to distinguish from echinacea in its infancy. Shasta daisy deadheading has to take the stalk right to the ground. It will not rebloom and the new growth at ground level is shiny and pretty. Resist the temptation to simply snap the dead heads off, leaving the stick. Unlovely at best!

I managed some big weeding in my own garden with the help of my workers. The weeds were actually holding the plants in place. We had to place our feet around a plant before pulling the massive weeds. Sometimes cutting at ground level was the only option.

I am finishing the fall planting. I put in the rest of the peas. Last year I had great spinach. I planted in August and moved the seedlings into the unheated hoop house in October. We ate spinach all winter and it really came around in early spring. When planted in the spring, I’ve had it go to seed at about three inches tall.

I’ve been telling you about the beauty of wax begonias this year. They have been a great substitute for impatiens. They are deer-proof but here’s the thing; my hens are quite fond of them. I let them out for an hour or so at dusk to wander in the yard on a bug-killing mission of late and they head right for the begonias. Why, oh why?

In winter I make my own bread and pop a few loaves into the freezer each time. I’ve run out of it and have started purchasing. The Orange Peel Bakery offers up some wonderful selections similar in texture to my own. The Aquinnah-based bakery has been a great addition to our local food industry. Cronig’s down-Island carries the baked goods back near the deli.

Just spent the day in my own garden so am back with more observations. I have an allium called millennium. It’s the best of the perennial alliums. It is about 15 inches tall with thick, strappy leaves and large, rosy purple flowers on strong stems. It fills in the front of the border nicely after other plants die back. I purchased it in the spring from Walter’s Gardens but am on the search for some bulbs this fall.

I harvested my onions and only one word comes to mind — pathetic. I started them from seed in January and painstakingly transplanted the hair-sized babies into properly prepared beds in March. I had the bright idea to plant carrots between the rows. All was fine until the carrots reached giant proportions. They dwarfed the poor onions and basically prevented any further growth. When will I ever learn? Everything seems possible in spring. Hope springs eternal and all that!

I’ve noticed that many of the locust trees are virtually leafless. Has anyone else noticed and knows why?

Once again, welcome to the Obamas. I would like to thank the president for doing a thankless job. It has to be the worst job on the planet. The Congress has been absolutely no help, people complain constantly, the entire world thinks you are responsible for everything, half the country begrudges you even a few days to yourself, your every move is scrutinized and you can never be alone. Wow! Remind me not to run for office!

At any rate, you, President Obama, given all that, are doing an admirable job. Soldier on!