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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July’s Rains

June’s rainfall was below normal, and July has been nonexistent until July 16. Southeastern Michigan has had spotty showers this month, with some spots getting drenched while others get nothing.

Concrete sidewalk with scattered raindrops.
Don’t laugh! That’s how wet the sidewalk got. I doubt that this counts as “measurable” precipitation. Photographed after an extremely brief shower on July 16, 2018.

Last year we got our break on July 7. Fortunately, Ann Arbor’s art fairs started on Thursday, July 19. The art fairs always seems to bring rain, frequently on the second day. Continue reading “July’s Rains”

The Green of May

What a gorgeous time of year. My eyes have been craving the bright, grassy, green of May in everything from lawn to ferns to rose foliage and new fig leaves. Here are some of my favorites.

The ostrich ferns are more or less full size, and a beautiful shade of green. Some of them have moved into the small gap between the top of the driveway and the big planter that sits there, making it easy to look down into them. Now that they are fully unfurled, the leaves make beautiful patterns.

Photograph of view straight down into the middle of an ostrich fern.
Looking straight down into the funnel of an ostrich fern. Photographed on May 14, 2018.

The rue anemone have lost or hidden all their red pigment—the flowers are now white and the leaves are bright green. Rue anemone spreads happily and shares space well, especially with eastern columbines, which have similar-looking foliage. The occasional pop of red is pleasant. Continue reading “The Green of May”

More Rain Today Than in the Month of June

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I was very happy to be blasted out of bed shortly after 5 a.m. by very loud thunder. When I looked out the window, the rain garden had plenty of puddling in it, so it was doing its job keeping at least some of the rain from running off down the sidewalk and into the overtaxed storm drains.

By 8 a.m., the silver maple had stopped dripping enough that I could walk around and enjoy my second cup of coffee. The hydrangeas looked terrific. Looking more closely, I realized that a month with many more promises of rain than actual rain had taken its toll. The flowers heads are smaller than usual, and the individual flowers are quite a bit smaller, but the green of the leaves was already shifting from that piny, water-stressed blue green to a much brighter and greener green.

Annabelle hydrangea, closeup. The individual flowers are just over half of their usual diameter, due to a very dry June. Usually the petals hide the stems behind them completely. Photographed July 7, 2017.

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Roses and Other Traditional Garden Plants

Oddly enough, despite the fact that I have been nattering on about mostly native plants since January, I love many of the traditional plants you would find in any perennial garden, and this is their peak time. I am a very laissez-faire gardener however, so the plants that I am writing about are sturdy, hardy, and reasonably well behaved.

Roses: Morden Blush

I love this rose. It’s a shrub rose, only lightly scented, but a lovely pink, and a dependable bloomer. Besides, it’s hardy to zone 3, -35°F. We are in zone 6, but we have had a couple of truly vicious winters this decade that this rose survived, completely unperturbed. It is one of the Parkland Series of roses that were developed by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at Morden Research Station in Manitoba. Yup. Manitoba.

This tough rose is blooming, despite living in a huge planter box with little supplementary water in June—mostly what has spilled over from filling watering cans for potted plants.

Morden Blush. These flowers were all new the morning they were photographed, except the paler one in the center. They fade to a very pale shell pink as they age. Photographed June 28, 2017.

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