Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nothing New Under the Sun

I've been keeping this blog for a few years now, and I haven't made any drastic changes to my landscape in awhile. That means that you may have seen some of these scenes before. Since I am the owner of this garden, my delight never wavers. Besides, I keep this blog as my garden journal. I like to look back at old posts, to see what was blooming at this time in the past. But that means you may see some repeats on here.

Monarch beauty on sunflower
Cut and Come Again zinnias
I won't apologize though. I appreciate any visitors to my blog, whether the've seen it all before, or not!

Queen Red Lime zinnias
Tequila Lime zinnias
Queen Red Lime zinnias
Late summer is a bit of a struggle for many gardeners. Flowers are fading, and it's still too hot for cool weather autumn blooms. I find that I depend on annuals to show me some pizzaz when the perennials tend to fade.

Sunflowers and stormy skies
Shady porch container
Tall Ribbon Mix snapdragons have been reseeding here for years
Hanging angel wing begonias, with common begonias in window boxes
Plus my hydrangeas are peaking about now. I do love these babies!

Hydrangea bouquet for drying
Endless Summer, lots of blooms hiding inside
Little Quickfire hydrangea
Little Lime hydrangea
Still, there's nothing really new to show off. But that hasn't stopped me, has it?

Radsunny knockout rose
Don Juan climbing rose 
Chinatown rose
Chinatown rose
Every monarch that shows up here is greeted with a photo op. I didn't raise any in the kitchen this year, my milkweeds didn't fare well enough to sustain them. I'll plant more next year, and hope for the best.

About to launch
Bedraggled beauty
And just because it isn't fresh news, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy showing off my little patches of pretty, even if those patches are just repeats.

Sunset hyssop and rudbeckia
Caladiums and lamium
Plumbago groundcover
Thanks for stopping by anyway, even when there's nothing new under the sun.

Sedum Autumn Joy begins to bloom, and the pollinators can't wait
A place to watch the veggies grow
Bottle tree

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Tired August Garden

I guess it's my own fault that my garden looks tired in August. I should plant more perennial flowers that bloom in late summer. I do use zinnias and dahlias for this purpose, but they're behind this year. Still, my garden is looking a little droopy right now. But I won't show you the weak spots. I'd rather hide behind the things that are doing well.

Zinnia bouquet
Cut and Come Again zinnias
Rain drenched lily
Sunflower gift from the birds
Tired or not, there are still plenty of bright spots if you look for it. It makes it easy to skip over the bare spots. My favorite part of late summer is to watch for the butterflies that hang out here. If you've followed my blog at all, you probably already know this about me. I never do get tired of watching for them.

First monarch spotted this year
Red Spotted Purple, not often seen nectaring on flowers
A ragged black swallowtail
Unknown skipper with his proboscis tightly curled
I do find that August finds the gardener herself to be tired also. It's too hot to be overly ambitious. It's not a good time to start any projects anyway. I do a little weeding and deadheading, that's all that really needs to be done. Even weeding is no longer a major task, because my beds have filled themselves in with plants, ground covers, and mulch. Normally watering would be a big task this time of year, but we're having a rainy summer. You have no idea how much I appreciate that!

Sunset hyssop with a visitor
Winter hardy dahlia
Karly Rose grass
Even though some of my garden is less than stellar this time of year, I can always count on my hydrangeas for late summer blooms. I only have three, but they are much loved. The newest one is Little Lime. It's a bit hidden, but it will get larger eventually. I also have Endless Summer hydrangea and Little Quickfire. Endless Summer doesn't bloom as reliably as it once did. Last summer I think it only had three blooms, but it's much more floriferous this year. It blooms on old and new wood, so I can't quite figure out the pattern. We've had mild winters that would not necessarily zap the old wood blooms, and still the blooms were weak. This winter was fairly mild, yet all old wood was killed, and I still have a much better bloom set. Little Quickfire is another story. It's only about three years old, and every year I get more and more blooms. I just love it! This was a trial plant given to me by Proven Winners, and it has lived up to that name. Caladiums make a nice companion to hydrangeas.

Little Lime hydrangea with caladium companion
Little Quickfire in foreground, Endless Summer behind, with more caladiums
Unknown Costco caladiums
Now that I'm speaking of a tired August garden, I see that it is only the perennials that are tired. I'm coming to realize that I use annuals to fill any perennial gaps this time of year. I suppose that's my own method of working around it. I'm not a perennial garden snob by any means! After all, annuals give you that bit of zing that can make a summer garden so stunning. I've noticed more compliments from the neighbors this year, so I must be doing something right.

Dragon wing begonia hanging basket 
Unknown Costco caladiums
Mandevilla, a summer must-have for me
First of my signature zinnias, Queen Red Lime
Sunflower gift from the birds
My patio is on the sunny south side of my house, and the only shade comes from an umbrella. We thought about adding a pergola or large cantilevered umbrella, but it would affect the sun loving plants I grow there. So we just make do. If it's not too hot, the umbrella gives just enough shade to enjoy a quick iced tea break during the day. But after dinner, the sun goes behind the nearby houses and we can fully enjoy our "veranda" time. With drinks and books at hand, I sit with my camera watching the birds comes and go. Petey the hummingbird doesn't like to pose, of course, but sometimes I get lucky. The house sparrows have filled the birdhouse again, and this is the most skittish mama bird I've ever seen. It will be a miracle if her babies get enough to eat, as it takes her a good 20 minutes or more to get up her nerve to bring her treat inside. She watches from afar for a long time, getting slowly nearer, alights on top, then scoots off, again and again. We keep a finch sock filled for the goldfinches, but when the coneflowers are around, they prefer them.

Hummingbird at rest, a rare sight! 
Skittish mama bird
Goldfinch on fading coneflowers
Tired or not, my summer garden still brings me so much joy. I grow it for my own enjoyment, but I had to admit that it pleases me to get such compliments from neighbors and friends. I'm trying to bring a little corner of sunshine to the world. And I think I've succeeded!

Lilies and friends
An exuberant corner
Cherry Cheesecake hibiscus
Sunset hyssop, Black eyed susans with bottle tree
Black eyed susans and plumbago
Resurrection lilies with companions