Monthly Archives: August 2010

The begining of the end, or just the end of the begining?

Who is that screamin in my  ear???  Street preacher? Doomsday prophet?  One of the Seven Angels or Four Horseman? Garden Writer?

This time of year it is impossible to escape all the screaming and yelling, only in this case from garden magazine writers and columnists , instead of the usual  cardboard sign carrying crazies, preaching change your ways!..plant more fall color!! The season is waning…is your garden prepared?!!

Well, I can’t speak for my soul, but my  garden seems A-ok. Still, I fall under the spell of their hypnotic chants…ornamental grasses…asters…foliage and textures…. and I feel as though somehow I am NOT ready,  yes, I need to re-assess, re-vamp, plan better for the slow down of Fall

Wait a minute, No I don’t. One quick look at the garden tells me that I actually have quite a bit going on here, and a follow up closer look tells me I actually have more in bloom than I did in July. Check out this list written poorly with no italics or proper botanic names ;)

Traditional Late Bloomers: helianthus x multiflorous, Joe-Pye weed, Sedum (‘Matrona’ ‘Autumn Joy’ ‘Brilliant ‘Vera Jameson’), Trumpet Vines, Rudbeckia, Coneflowers, Caryopteris, Hydrangea (paniculata and grandiflora) Hosta, Hibiscus ( perennial and Rose of Sharon) asters,allium,and buddleia

Long Bloomers that have great staying power: Hydrangea (var. species) catamint ,knockout roses,Christopher Marlowe english rose, magic carpet roses, fairy roses, bee balm,pansies,yarrow,poppies,persicaria (firetail) coreopsis grandiflora ,rose mallow, garden phlox,potentilla, clematis (‘Huldine’ ‘Betty Corning’  ‘Kermesina’ ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’ ‘Dr. Ruppel’  integrifolia and texensis), summersweet (clethra anifolia) shasta daisy, hucheras, perennial verbena’Annie’,blanket flower,

Bushes in berry: snowberry, holly, viburnums (arrowwood and burkwodii) dogwood

Annuals in their prime; bacopa,petunia,nicotiana, sweet peas, helenium, snapdragons, amaranth, sunflowers, hyacinth bean vine, zinnias, cosmos, nasturtiums, stock, pelergoniums and  dhalias

Things re-blooming after being cut back : stella d’oro daylily, armeria, dianthus, feverfew, germander, lavendar, geraniums, spireas,

That’s nothing to sneeze at, and on that subject,  NO I am NOT going to plant solidago (goldenrod), it may not be the cause of the hay-fever (which is it’s look alike- ragweed) but it IS a look alike to what I think of as an ugly weed/plant, and you can’t make me like it!

 So, if the end is near, and we are woefully ill-prepared for the garden making it’s last stand, then someone better tell my Sheffield mums, they haven’t even started to bud yet.

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Bloom Day

One more time I missed bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens  ..  maydreamsgardens.com  ……and you all know how I hate to be left out of anything :) …..so better late than never, and this post will remind me next month on the 15th to get my a** in gear.

I could list all the plants that are blooming here, but they mimic the lists already on other sites, so instead on bloom day I will stick to clematis (and or other vines as the mood strikes me).

c.Dr. Ruppel

c.’ Dr. Ruppel’ is planted twice in the same bed, once to grow into a Rose of Sharon, once in a container. It is blooming in the container right now

Elsa Spath

c.’Elsa Spath’ is in her second, and smaller flush of blooms for the summer

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c.viticella’ Kermesina’ is blooming with abandon, but will be moved to a better more visisble location when it is finished (can’t seem to find the picture….hmmmmm

c.’Comtesse de Bouchard’ (right) just keeps on keepin on as does c. viticella ‘Betty Corning ‘ (left)(both in week 16 of bloom)

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c.’Huldine’ (left)is blooming out front although it finished out back two weeks ago, and c.texensis’ Gravetye Beauty’(right) is doing what is does best..being beautiful! What a job to have, huh?

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Last but certainly not least, the herbaceous c.integrifolia ‘Rosea’ (below) is blooming all around the ever so beautiful Christopher Marlowe rose I am infatuated with since it’s arrival from David Austin roses this spring. 

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Because of the bunny issues here ,I will not swear here even though I wanna, some clematis have been blooming out of their ordinary time, so almost every day I am surprised to see a new one with buds and look forward (now that they are all caged off grrrrrrr) to see who comes out next.

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Feeling left out

At this time of year I tend to notice how everybody is going on and on about their vegetable gardens. They are all so smug and impressed with their gardening prowess and bounty.I want to go on and on about something too ! (hear the whine in my voice?), but I do not grow a vegetable garden for a plethora of reasons. A.) There are many perfectly stocked farmers markets in my area loaded with beautiful  produce  at dirt cheap prices  B.)Being an ornamental gardener if something seems off or doesn’t look it’s best I can move it, cut it back or replace it. Not so with the veggies, they must remain and try to produce . Does not work with my OCD.  C.)Given my failure rate with so very many types of plants, why would I add one more that may crash and burn , that seems like setting myself up for more heartbreak. Add to that ego slam a family that “tolerates” vegetables when they appear on the plate as opposed to “enjoying” them and I don’t really see the point for all that effort.

But since I do not like to be left out of the party, I will wax on about the two semi-veggies I DO grow. First is the bottle gourd. Given that it is  a squash plant, it alone amoung many seedlings survived the miserable excuse of an unweeded bed my cutting garden was this year. Meant to be the centerpeice of a sea of zinnias and Bells of Ireland, instead it is a jewel in the crabgrass. It is grown to be used as a container, or for me hopefully birdhouses if I can dry it correctly. And guess what?  even though it is a squash you can walk by me without lowering your gaze lest I hand you a bag of it, and you will not find any on your doorstop or your car seat either. Nor will I have to scour the internet for clever ways to incorporate it into tasty baked goods just to get rid of it. I may even have too few!

Secondly I am growing hyacinth bean (lablab purpurea) which is a wonderful vine that I spent $2 on seeds for several years ago and have had from that investment much August joy as it climbs with it’s big bold burgandy leaves and comes into flower with lovely purplish-white flowers that will then turn into electric purple seed pods, from which I will collect seed and do it all again next year. Hummingbirds go ga-ga over it too.

So there, beans and squash. No family drama, no ego slams, no worries about crop failure or late blight. Just birdhouses and purple-y goodness.

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August is quiet….so far

It is funny how quiet it is around here. CJ, our oldest son is rarely home between work and what he refers to as “out” AKA old enough to bar hop with friends, Dave in CA, Erin at two consecutive sessions of camp, and Faith the quiet one in general. Usually summer here means $400 a week grocery bills, a cellar that looks like a frat house, 5 loads of pool towels a day, etc. but now it is eerily quiet.

It is like that outside too. Lots of stuff has bloomed and passed, foliage is all yellowy or covered in powdery mildew, things look tired and boring. But that is all about to change both in and outside.

Saturday DAVID COMES HOME!! for a break from the Presidio in Monterey, and my nephew will also be here from CO with his new wife, This house will be full of people. Bill is on vacation,and all Dave’s friends will be here as well as all the family gathering to see both Dave and my nephew. Yipee!!

It is also about to change outside, asters , mums, sunflowers, false sunflowers, sweet autumn clematis, hyacinth beans,ornamental grasses and Joe Pye weed are about to burst on the scene. This is also the time to re-fresh some containers with new and exciting plants, and compost the leggy and bug eaten ones.

It feels like the garden has been on perpetual tour this summer, so weeding deadheading and removing yellow leaves have been a constant chore, with no respite in sight as we usually have at least one (maybe two) huge end of summer blow-out parties the end of August or Labor Day weekend. So I must be vigilant and not let the gardening chores get ahead of me , then they seem overwhelming.

Still,it is a joy to walk in the garden and see the sweet peas in full bloom, the white berries of the snowberry bush starting to appear, the dinner plate sized flowers of the hibiscus (above) and the hoardes of black-eyed -susans everywhere. It may not be the crazy riot of July, but the garden has a new sense of serenity and calm provided by the more muted colors of the fall bloomers

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…ok…that was calm….FOR SOMEONE WHO JUST HAD THEIR DEBUT AS A GARDEN CLUB AND HORTICULTURE SPEAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night at Elm Bank in Wellesley MA, the home of the Mass Horticultural Society, I gave my first presentation (on clematis) to a wonderrful group of ?? people (I did not count or even really look at them all I was so nervous). Bit I DID IT!and the experience was everything I hoped it would be. A big thank you to my teach…Betty S and my “boss” for the event Neal S. . It was incredible and I can’t wait to do it again!

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