Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Keep the Late Summer Garden Going

Late July: hot and dry. Normally, by this time I've let my gardens go a bit as the mosquitos just chase me back inside anyway when I try to go out. This year, however, I have reason to keep them looking decent for just a while longer. We all have those events occasionally that call for some outdoor entertaining even in mid to late summer. Whether it be a family reunion, wedding, or your turn to host the bbq you've got to step up and go the extra mile. In my case it's an August wedding, well not the wedding, per se, but the guys will be getting ready here and the photographer will be here to capture it all on memory disk  Then there is the gift opening. My daughter-in-law-to-be liked my garden enough in spring to think it would be the perfect place for all this during their wedding.

Well the dear girl just doesn't know what a difference there is between a spring and summer garden! The plants have all gotten lanky and laid down into the paths.  Patches of perennials have bloomed and finished blooming. The lush verdant foliage has gone dull and dry.

We were lucky this year. We had occasional rains well into July but as usual that hasn't lasted. All the rains did was coax the plants to grow much taller than usual and then, unable to support themselves, they just slumped over. This is not unusual and I'm always having to stake things but some things I allow to spill out onto the path. Artemesia is a good example. I kind of like the way the stems curve when they're allowed to sprawl all over. Not this summer, nope, they're propped up with a wire fence. The heliopsis is reaching up for the sky and needed to be tied to the bottle tree ages ago.

Even the chives, daisies, lamb's ears and spider wort are supported and staked..

The common daisies began blooming in May. The Shastas have long since taken their place.  The many different colors of day lilies are finally on their last blooms. The monarda is looking shabby. I'm wondering if sections of the purple cone flowers will be done in two weeks.  

There is so much that needs trimming. First the daisies just needed dead heading, only the flower heads removed, since the stems and leaves were green and feeding the plant. Then the stems went dry and brown and needed a second trimming to the low growth down at ground level. Normally I let the gold finches feast on the seeds but not this year.  And once those day lily stems dry out a bit they pull right out but not this year. They got a careful pruning out.  I hate being so anal about the garden. I like it to be more natural but when your daughter-in-law-to-be thinks this would be the best place, well you go the extra mile.

I keep it watered as best I can but of course I'm conflicted. I don't want to waste water. I rarely just turn on the sprinkler since I know that much of that will just evaporate off the paths. Besides, all the weight of the water just causes more slumping, droopy plants that need more staking. I like to water from below, setting the hose nozzle on shower, soaker or even a wide spray depending on how much room there is underneath and how much area I think I can cover.  I move the hose from area to area while I work nearby. That is another advantage of watering this way. I'm not dodging the sprinkler zones.

I've been given very few duties as the mother of the groom. I've made the bows for the aisle and the gift card box. I tied a pretty ribbon on the bottle they'll use for special notes to one another during the ceremony and attached chicken wire inside a frame for the place cards to hang on. . I'm wearing my big, thick gloves in the garden to keep my nails pretty and trying not to get all scratched up in the rose bushes. Now if I only had just a little control over when the turtle heads, Black-eyed Susans and anemone would start blooming I'd have it made in the shade. Shade! I've been working on that, too.


  1. What a beautiful garden!
    Nice flowers and patios. I really like your blog. Thank you for sharing this :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words Charlotte. I really enjoy working in the garden and am glad to share it with others.