Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mid-August Garden Walk

It's 78 degrees this morning, the ideal time to walk around the yard and take notes. First, we'll stop by the pond and feed the baby koi. This spot feels private and peaceful. Each side is bordered by Burning Bushes, with little glimpses of trees in the background.

Next, we'll walk around the pond and step through the gate. 

Beyond the clipped suburban grass, we can see country wildness, a thriving habitat for deer, wild turkey, raccoons, and even a fox or two.

In the butterfly garden, the magnolia looks scorched. I know what my mother would say--sprinkle a bag of epsom salt around the base and work it into the soil, then water a good long while. 

We'll circle back to the koi pond and the porch. Volunteer trees and vines have woven into the Carolina Jessamin, but this late in the year, I am hesitant to trim. Plants need a bit of insulation to help them through the winter. But come spring, my work is cut out for me.

On the balcony above the porch, the trellis is engulfed. Here, I may do a little snipping, mainly because, later on, the weight of snow and ice could damage the trellis.

I'm a bit in love with the volunteer marigolds. They are unflappable, tolerating scalding hot days.

The lavender is happy, despite rainy periods.
This is my second year to plant Angelonia (top row, photo 2). The Creeping Jenny was planted last summer, by the way, with no help from me.

Salvia has done well until recently. I'm too chicken to deadhead.

Even the butterfly bushes seem a little weary.

 Over by the trellis beds, the mixed annuals are holding their own.  In September, I may stick in a few lantana and mums. The purple Angelonia (summer snapdragon) has put up with my neglect all summer, and it seems to be thriving. Since they don't require deadheading, I'm putting Angelonia on my list for next spring. Lavender is another plant that seems to do well in my yard.

I don't know how the petunias have survived, but my hat's off to them.

 The hydrangeas are starting to look hot and bothered, as if a burning match has been held to the blossoms.

Notes for next spring:
Angelonia, zinnias, lantana, lavender, and marigolds. I may try to grow sunflowers in one of the raised beds. Coneflowers have struggled, but I'm not giving up. I'd like to plant daisies, too. Next year, I hope to create a path to the potting shed. Note to self: Drink more Ensure!
Another plant deserves honors: the Kimberly ferns have been tough.

Before we leave, let's stop by the most curious feature in the yard. 
The giant boxwood has always seemed a bit magical, as if it sprang from a children's book, a backdoor to Narnia.

The trellises are green, hot pink, and yellow, shot through with crepe myrtles and trumpet vines. This year, I had to pull up five giant yellow rosebushes that had succumbed to a botanical version of Game of Thornes, specifically rose rosette disease. Two large pink Knockout bushes had to be yanked up, too.  
Gardening is like life, always changing and fraught with dangers. But it's also
filled with everyday miracles.

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  1. Hi
    Love your tour of the late summer garden. I put a patio umbrella over my hydrangeas during the hot summer days. It really helps with the sunburn. I always love your posts. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for that stroll through the garden, Michael. It sounds as though your endurance is still being challenged with the note to self. :(

    That boxwood! Oh my, it IS magical. I think that's bigger than the ones at Williamsburg! It's very cool. What vine do you grow on your staircase above the porch? My trellis never filled out with my mandevilla this year, and I must look for something else.

    Angelonia has been a staple for my annual summer bed for a number of years, it does so well. I do trim out my salvia - it's like a fork - first the middle, then the two outer spikes grow & wither, then I clip below that, and whole new fork will spring (never as full as the first flush, but definitely rebounds for fall color).

    It's ok to see a fox or two, but don't let the fox see Jasper, right?! Yikes!

    1. The original vine was Carolina Jessamin, but all sorts of things have crept in, including a sycamore sapling. I intend to snip some of those to put in vases. We just dug up two almost dead climbing roses in this area. I can only imagine how pretty that would have looked on the rail and trellis. Thank you for the tip about salvia. Thinking of it as a fork is brilliant and helpful. I saw a silver fox two years ago, and Tyler thought he spotted a coyote. We never let Jasper off the leash. The velcro on his harness came loose one morning, and I almost didn't catch him! :-)

  3. Hi Michael Lee! Oh, your gardens are gorgeous! So lush and full! You really have a beautiful property! I know you're enjoying your lovely new home. Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. You have inspired me! Next Spring I will be in my 1940's Bungalow and can start planting my magical outdoor space. Ideas abound, thanks to you. Thank you so so much!

    1. Oh, it's so much fun. I am trying to do a little each year. Right now, I'm figuring out what to put in the former rose bush spaces. I hope to get another peony into the ground, too, and more bulbs. Fall is a good time to plant.

  5. I forgot to mention a few "tricks" I've learned over the years. To do a quick dead heading of your purple salvia, use your grass trimmers and remove at least a third to one half of the dead stems. I usually do this in mid-July, but I'm late this year and just did it yesterday. I also do my petunias the same, but stem by stem (with scissors). Then I fertilize with Bloom Booster, which is made by several companies, but has a strength of (for example) of 12-60-12 (not exact, but the middle number has to be at least 5xs the first and last number). After that, you be sure to water often and you can make up more of the Bloom Booster at less than half strength to feed then every two days till the plants set on new flower buds again. You can continue this for a week or two then switch back to regular water again. You won't believe what will happen to your flowers. . .my petunias today are as full and beautiful as early summer! I did them two weeks ago, when we were having cool spells, luckily. I will feed the salvia (perennial) this evening and will have an abundance of new blooms in a few weeks just in time to sit pumpkins amongst the awesome purple. Important: as far as I know, this is NOT for acid loving plants. Your stores may be out of this strength of fertilizer, so ask for help if you don't find it easily. And try another store, Lowe's, Home Depot, or anywhere you usually buy your gardening supplies. And you might want to try this on a small plot now so you can see the results and gear up for next year.

    I live in Southern Illinois, and mid to late summers are brutal on both gardens and people. If you are in a milder climate, all the better this should work for you. I have a question for you. . .what does drinking Ensure do for you? I can't do nearly as much as I would like due to MS and the summer heat and humidity, and if the Ensure could help my energy level, I'd love it. Best to you.

    1. Thank you for these marvelous tips! I've got Bloom Booster in the garage, but I mainly used it on the mailbox petunias. I'm going to trim the salvia. I saw some today at a shopping center, and they were lush and tall! As for Ensure, I drink it because it has vitamins and iron. I'm still battling anemia, and I am frustrated because I can't do what I did a year ago in the yard. I buy the high protein, as it has 180 calories (I do NOT need calories, for sure!). It has more iron (plus Vitamic C to aid in iron absorption--non-heme (like vegetable, dark chocolate, cereal) iron sources need Vit C, unlike meat). The Ensure is easy to digest (I can't take iron supplements because I have diverticulosis.) Thanks again for your great ideas!

  6. The walk was delightful. I always like walking through gardens and do that every morning to see what is going on in my little gardens.

    Your flowers are very lovely and have held up quite well. When the summers are really hot the flowers look very tired, especially when we don't get rain until November and have to watch our water.

    Thanks so much for the lovely tour. How do the Koi fish do in the winter there?

    Have a great week.


    1. We inherited the koi and the pond from the previous owner, and she said the koi winter-over, entering a sort of "lull." They aren't supposed to be fed in the winter. It sounds like hibernation of some sort, but I can't imagine...we had the pond cleaned by a koi expert, and he said the same thing. It worked. For 2 winters, we followed the advice, and the koi were fine--and were parents. I was excited to see the babies--and they survived!

  7. Thanks for the walk! The beauty and variety God created for us takes my breath away. You are a good steward of your portion of his earth. You, too, are "blessed among women". The Hilltop, for all it's challenges, looks to be a healing place.

  8. Could your gardens and views be anymore gorgeous?! I am neighbors in sight!

    1. Thanks, Melanie. We do have neighbors on each side--and in the back--but the trellis garden is between us and the closest neighbor.

  9. I enjoyed my August walk in your garden and I always love a peek from your hilltop! I didn't remember you had a pond with koi, how relaxing. I've always wanted a small water feature with some fantail goldfish but they'd end up being fish food for our resident heron.
    My Endless Summer hydrangeas are crispy and the limelight hydrangea blooms are taking on that early fall burnished hue. I have one butterfly bush that is sickly, I think from our excess rainfall. I love garden/life analogy. ♥

    1. We battled a heron at our last house. It was a losing battle! If you find a cure for your butterfly bush, please let me know! I planted two more this year, and they are small but very healthy. I wonder if I should have trimmed my bushes this spring. I was CHICKEN!

  10. Thank you for taking me along on a walk through your garden. I loved every step of the way. Your garden makes me feel like I am Anne of Green Gables in an enchanted land.♥

    1. I feel the same way about your garden, Beverly.

  11. It's still beautiful, even in August. I need to go through my own gardens and make notes on which plants to add more of next year. Happy Gardening... until frost.