The Roses of Summer

My favorite rose started blooming in late May, bloomed right through the dryness of August, and will continue for a while yet. At this point, I’m leaving the hips on to ripen, as they turn a very nice orange. It’s a David Austin rose called Windrush, which has a fabulous scent.

The rose Windrush in full bloom. In the upper righthand corner there are columbines; to the right, there are geraniums, Johnson’s Blue. Photographed on June 9, 2020.

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Watch Out for Leaning Pawpaws!

I believe that if this were an apple tree, with an apple tree’s superficial and small root system, it would have been completely ripped out of the ground by this storm. Pawpaws have taproots, and I think that’s whats holding the tree up.

Using a level app on my phone, I see that the trunk is leaning roughly 17° off vertical, and the big cluster of pawpaws at the top are pulling the top section to  horizontal. Just add adolescent raccoons…. If the tree were to go over, it would probably land on the blue fescue and whack the western edge of the oakleaf hydrangea.

A pink line highlights the edges of the main trunk of the leaning pawpaw.
The heavily fruiting pawpaw is leaning badly after a couple of inches of rain at the end of August. Photographed on August 29, 2020.

It has a very heavy crop ripening, mostly just beyond the upper righthand corner of this photograph. The lower branches form a tent you could hide in. I will be even more careful about where I stand under this tree.

I have to assess it this winter when I can see the trunk and branches. I may be removing both pawpaw trees in late winter. There’s no use keeping one—they are not self-fruitful.

Texture in the Summer Garden

A relaxing garden has both restful places for your eyes and focal points to enjoy. Green is restful, but it can get monotonous if it’s all identical, as in a yard with a well-kept lawn, but nothing else. Texture is a good way to add interest without losing the restfulness of green. Massing, an application of the design principles of repetition and proximity, is a great way to develop texture that is sufficiently interesting to lead your eyes to an interesting larger plant or something in bloom. Continue reading “Texture in the Summer Garden”

Irises, Native and Not

I mentioned rearranging plants in my last post. This is the best time to rearrange your irises. They are dormant, and they are happier to remain dry this time of year, which makes post-planting attention simple.

Native Irises

I moved blue-eyed grass last week. It seeds where it wants to, but the plants are very easy to move. They are small enough to be a trowel job, even when they have reached blooming size.

Blue-eyed grass in bloom in moderate shade. Photographed on June 6, 2020.

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A Look Back: Purple, Winding Down

There is a lot of purple in May and early June. Here are four purple-flowered plants, two natives and two not, that have done very well. They will all take light shade, although the geranium would probably be happiest with more sun than the others.

False Indigo, Baptisia australis

This native plant erupts from the ground the second week of May, and is blooming by the end of the month! It is very popular with our bumblebees.

Baptisia with a bumblebee. Photographed on June 6, 2020.

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Summer in a Nutshell: Outacontrol, But Sorting Itself Out

Somehow, it’s August. Not only that, l spent last week, one of two between-semester weeks off, cooking, paying bills, catching up with my accountant, weeding, mowing, rearranging a few plants, and having meetings with mixed success. I did get a few things done towards a drawing that is, so far, a year in the making.

I knew that my garden was fraying, but it really didn’t sink in fully until I realized that I had completely forgotten about an empty spot right by the back door that I would have to deal should have dealt with in the spring—of 2020. Last week I realized that spot had taken care of itself. It’s not subtle in bloom.

Rudbeckia hirta, self sown and in bloom. Photographed on August 12, 2020.

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It’s the Purple Period!

The purple period marks the transition from spring, with its columbines and Baptisia, to early summer, with its roses and peonies, and irises bridge the seasons.

The planter box at the end of the driveway runs south to north; just north of it, the Alpine columbines are  coming into bloom. Right behind them are the rather asparagus-looking Baptisia flower buds; the highly divided leaves to their right belong to the geranium Johnson’s Blue, which is just budding up. The last plant wraps around the outer edge of the entire bed; it’s crested iris, which was at its peak Saturday.

Looking across the brick entryway into the backyard. Front to back: Alpine columbines, Baptisia flower buds, and crested iris. Photographed on May 23, 2020.

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