Monday, July 16, 2012
Last week we finally had some rain and a few days of pleasantly cool temperatures.
In fact, I ended up focusing a lot of my time on a few nearly perfect blooms of Love and Peace.
here and here. July is a slow time for gardening here because of the heat and humidity, except that there's an awful lot of weeding that needs to be done. It's nice for me to focus on garden pleasures to make sure I don't forget why I do it.
Thanks once again to Lisa's Chaos where Macro Monday is hosted each week. Today I see I'm not the only one to post close-ups of roses. There are lots of other fun macro photos there too. Check it out.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
|Lilium 'Casa Blanca' (oriental hybrid)|
|Flower of eggplant, Solanum melongena|
|Crape myrtle -- genus Lagerstroemia|
|Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky' (top) and Rudbeckia hirta (bottom)|
|Shasta daisies -- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky'|
|Canna indica, Monarda didyma (probably 'Raspberry Wine'), Rudbeckia hirta, Leucanthemum x superbum|
|Leucanthemum x superbum and Physostegia virginiana 'Miss Manners'|
|Echinacea purpurea, Veronica longifolia (?), Rudbeckia hirta|
|Rudbecka hirta and Cosmos sulphureus|
For the record, some flowers that are also blooming but not shown: abelia, butterfly bush, doublefile Viburnum (very late blooms, I think), Annabelle hydrangea, mophead hydrangea, Rose-of-Sharon liatris spicata (going over), Evening primrose, four o'clocks, sundrops (just a few last blooms), pickerel (just finishing), oregano, cerise queen yarrow, gaura, black-and-blue salvia and lots of annuals (lantana, zinnia, pentas, sweet alyssum, and still a few larkspur blooms) and another still remarkably early New York aster bloom.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Lilies!!!! Oh, I'm so, so glad that the lightening bolt hit and I finally realized that I CAN have lilies in my garden! For several years after I moved to this house, there was a lily that would sprout and bud each year, only to have the buds be eaten by deer. The previous owners had a dog, who would keep the deer at bay, I suppose. But I have no dog, and therefore, I figured, could have no lilies. I never even found out what color that lily was before it eventually gave up the ghost. I never planted any others, of course. Who sows heartbreak in their garden on purpose?
Then I talked to my green-thumbed hairdresser who casually mentioned the dozens of lilies she has growing in pots. In pots! That was the lightening bolt. Last spring I ordered some Casa Blanca lilies and put them in a big pot on my deck where the deer can't reach them, as an experiment. It worked! Now it's their second summer and they are blooming again. Next year maybe I'll even get more. In fact, I probably need to divide these up into two or more pots because they are significantly more floppy this year than last year.
I think lilies are beautiful but the main reason I don't want to live without them any longer is their fragrance. Fragrance is one of my true garden pleasures, very high up on my lists from the Ruling Passion Exercise from Rand Lee's Pleasures of the Cottage Garden, which I wrote about in an earlier post. Lilies are more strongly fragrant than anything else in my garden. I had noticed buds on the lilies in the morning before they first bloomed, but it was the fragrance that alerted me that they were beginning to open. Incredibly, the fragrance of this year's first lily wafted out into the garden when the flower was only open about this much:
This is a good month for strongly fragrant flowers in the garden. The butterfly bush has been especially floriferous this year and my husband even commented about its fragrance. I have it planted just next to a path that I travel all the time to get to the shed and compost pile and the fragrance is strong enough to catch your attention without you having to stop and sniff.
The butterfly bush is probably past its peak, but still blooming. Just coming into their peak, however, are the four o'clocks. I let four o'clocks self sow and consequently have a big enough drift of them to waft their fragrance into the evening air. I have two kinds, a very tall off-white which is not blooming yet, and the multicolored "Miracle of Peru" which can have majenta, white, or yellow blooms as well as striped, zoned or spotted blooms of multiple colors.
I would love to have fragrant flowers in bloom all the time. I have many flowers that are fragrant if you get close and sniff, but not so many like these whose fragrance drifts afar. Both are a pleasure in the garden, but the flowers that meet you more than halfway, wafting their fragrance over passersby, are a special joy in the garden.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
|Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia|
|Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky'|
|Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'|
Similarly, a beam of sunlight playing across the gigantic flower cluster of Hydrangea arborescens in my shady side yard brings out the cool buff white of the bloom. I love hydrangeas and this buffy color seems to really add to the grandmothery charm of them.
|Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium (atlanticum? angustifolium?)|
Sunday, July 8, 2012
|Kip, a very tiny Eastern Cottontail|
|White-throated sparrow (photo taken in December)|
|Yellow-rumped warbler (photo taken in December)|
Recently I turned up a pair of lists of "garden pleasures" in my gardening notebook. This was an exercise in one of my favorite gardening books, Pleasures of the Cottage Garden by Rand Lee. It's called the Ruling Passions Exercise and is meant to help you plan out a new garden. I have also used it to help me focus when it seems there are just too many things I need to improve. There are multiple lists in this exercise, but I have my "answers" from only two of them -- I think I had too much fun with these two to ever move onto lists #3 and #4. The first list is potential uses of your garden and the second is Sensory Pleasures. The idea is to brainstorm a list of all that you want from a garden in these categories. The book goes on to describe how to work through your list to decide which is most important to you, to focus your gardening efforts on what will give you the most pleasure early on from your new garden. The garden "use" that means the most to me is attracting wildlife, and one of the sensory pleasures that ranked high on my list is "little birds approaching closely." I realized looking through this list that I have achieved a lot of what I hoped for in my garden. This is a really comforting and cheerful thing to think about when it's 104 degrees outside and everything looks a bit wilted and there are weeds I don't have the fortitude to go out and pull. Little birds aren't the only pleasure my garden has to offer me, either, even now when it is not at it's prime, visually. Visual beauty of course appears multiple times in multiple ways on my list -- and my garden has some of that too -- but this is not its most shining moment in that department. In the near future, I hope to post about a few more of my ruling passions and explore what my garden has to offer.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
It's the start of July and, boy is it hot! This seemed to happen rather suddenly (although I was in cool Paris last weekend so my perceptions might be warped). I feel like there is still a lot of gardening to do -- and not just weeding -- so I hope there are some more moderate days now and again before autumn. But meanwhile, this weekend, it's too hot to go outside for more than 15 minutes at a time. So, my first views are views from the windows! Visit Town Mouse and Country Mouse for some other garden "first views".
This is the backyard, what I call the butterfly garden. I said last month that it was just about to explode in Black Eyed Susans and so it has.
We moved the bench outside the bed just this year. I originally designed the garden with the bench and a path inside it, but once the plants grew I realized the garden wasn't as big as I thought it was! Since we moved the bench, we've gotten a lot more enjoyment sitting on it, watching the garden and the butterflies or just reading in the evening after work. I also spend a ridiculous amount of time staring out the bathroom window at the garden in the morning before I've fully woken up. The garden is north of the house, so all the flowers obligingly face the house.
And here is the front garden. This view is from our guest room. I actually had this in mind while I designed this garden (although the guest room view was only one of many priorities) but ironically our house guests usually come in the wintertime when there is much less to see. This view gives an unusual but more complete view of our little patio garden, which was conceived and built over the last few years (with the patio itself being the latest step and just finished last summer). The fence gives us just enough of a feeling of privacy for me to feel comfortable hanging around out front. This is the sunniest part of the yard so I really appreciate this garden a lot.