September already?


The temperature has finally cooled enough, and the humidity subsided, to where I can once again tolerate working outside in the garden.  The last couple of nights have dropped into the 40s and the days have hovered in the mid-70s.  It’s been blissful. 

IMG_5856.JPGSince we’re also in the midst of a long weekend, I’ve taken advantage of the time and spent Friday afternoon and 8 hours yesterday in the garden.  I now have the weed-invested hot border cleaned up and back under control. The rudbeckia, calendula, marigolds, and red dahlias are blooming like crazy.  My ‘David Howard’ dahlias are full of buds and stand 4′ tall; they should open this week with their gorgeous, rich orange blooms.


I started some re-lo’s yesterday as well.  A “red” phlox that turned out to not really be all that red has been moved from the hot border to the circle garden.  A batch of Black-eyed Susan’s that were smothering a rose shrub in the front border were re-lo’ed to the hot border.  That’s just the beginning.  September (I can’t believe it’s already September) is generally my clean-up, divide and re-lo month.  In October I will be busy planting the 500 or so bulbs I’ve ordered (daffs, alliums, and fritillaria meleagris).  I’m planting more naturalizing daffodils in the orchard, as well as in a new garden location I have in mind (I know, like I need more).  The fritillaria will be allowed to naturalize in the front yard under a small grove of maple trees. 

I also spent part of the morning, unfortunately, cleaning up the massacre in the rose garden.  Saw fly larvae devoured quite a number of my new roses.  It’s been one nasty pest after another this summer; I blame the intense heat and dryness. 


That aside, most of the garden is doing well and the vegetable garden is still going strong.  I’m still harvesting cukes, green beans, carrots, onions, beets, tomatoes and corn.  I need to start canning soon.

zinnia and orange cosmos in the vegetable garden; the cutting garden

The watermelon and acorn squash should be ready soon, and the pumpkin patch is producing some mighty fine looking pumpkins.  Our older apple trees are loaded as well, so soon it will be time to start picking apples and canning applesauce and apple butter, and Nora will make and freeze some of her delicious pies.


Here are a few additional photos from yesterday evening.


Bee on origanum in the herb garden


Dahlia ‘Worton Blue Streak’

Late July in the Garden

The gardens look tired in late July; tattered from the relentless Japanese beetle attacks and this season, from the lack of rain.  The June blooms are spent and have been removed.  Some of the perennials, such as the catmint, Lady’s Mantle, dianthus and hardy geraniums will bloom again in August – although much less showy than in June.  Many of my repeat blooming roses are taking a little hiatus right now as well, but will also bloom again in mid to late August.  Some of the late summer/fall perennials are beginning to open, but the real fall display won’t commence until the red and orange dahlias are in full swing.

But despite the rather worn look of the gardens overall at the moment, there are pockets of the borders that still have some zing.  Below are some photos taken this morning.

This is one of the new borders in the rose garden (above and immediately below).  In bloom , Shasta daises, spirea, dahlias, salvia and astilbe




Above and immediately below — varieties of sweet peas


Lavender – a big hit with the bee population
Containers on the back porch still going strong

Views of the “Hot Border”

Nora is a huge fan of shockingly vibrant colors, while I prefer much of my garden to be a tad more muted — predominantly green with mixes of soft purples, pinks, yellows, and whites with the occasional splash of red or bright yellow.  I want to feel relaxed in my garden, not shouted at…

When I first started planting the circle garden it was more vibrant than not.  The circle garden is the first thing you see as you walk into out backyard from almost any direction.  With its mix of reds, strong yellows and magentas, it focused the eyes like a magnet.  There was no escaping it.  I didn’t care for it at all.  So, like any good gardener, I relocated it and hence was born the “hot border.”  My hot border is probably 80′ long and about 6-7′ deep; it too announces its presence.  But unlike the circle garden, the new hot border is safely placed in a side yard.  It is visible from the road, from the front porch and from the windows in the northeast side of the house.

It is largely a mix of red and yellow daylilies and liliums, orange and red dahlias, rudbeckia, yellow marigolds and orange cosmos and red roses.  Much of the hot border blooms in late summer and early fall.  Only the lilies and day lilies are blooming at the moment, but the colors are indeed vibrant, even in mid July.





Much Needed Rain

Finally, we’re getting some much needed rain today.  It began in the early morning hours and has continued, often heavily, throughout the day.  We should get 1-2″ out of this series of storms.  We had a brief interlude between showers, so I ran outside and snapped some photos of the flower gardens.  Just in time it turns out; I hear thunder off to the west and see a line of dark clouds heading our way.

Despite the best attempts of the lily beetles, many of the lilies have bloomed beautifully.


Couldn’t resist the rain drop shot
The hollyhocks are doing well too, and have bloomed earlier this year than is their norm. The Japanese beetles inevitably get to them and make them look ratty, but I still love hollyhocks; to me they are one of the quintessential cottage garden flowers.


Purple poppy bent over from the weight of the rain

Sunday Shots

“Gardening requires lots of water, most of it in the form of perspiration.” -Lou Erickson

We’re almost half way through the gardening season in North Country (already).  July is the month when I begin to feel a bit tired, and often a bit frustrated.  The freshness of June has passed, the days grow hot, the rain more sparse, and the pests more numerous.  This season has had mixed temperatures and very little rain, which translates into a lot more hand-holding for many of the plants.  So it is especially important for me in July to take time to walk around the gardens and just enjoy the beauty.  Below are some photos from yesterday’s walk.

Taken from the top of our driveway, this is a photo of the circle garden with the patio behind and the vegetable garden and sheep barn in the distance.
One of my earlier clematis additions, and unfortunately I no longer recall its name
Clematis ‘Niobe’
Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight’
Honeysuckle – a favorite of the hummingbirds
‘Windermere’ – a David Austin, English rose with a double, full bloom
‘Graham Thomas’ – I love yellow roses and it’s very difficult to find one that can survive our long, cold winters.  So far this one has made it through 2 winters.  This is an English shrub rose bred by David Austin.
Shasta daisy with visitor
Poppies waving in the breeze; poppies are so ethereal and fragile looking to me and yet one of the most hardy and prolific self-seeders around
‘Alnwick’ – another rose from the David Austin English Rose Collection; I love the delicate pink shades of this remarkably full blossom

A Rose By Any Other Name…

Many of the roses have started to bloom in the garden, including several of this year’s new additions.

One of the new additions (above and below photos) — a David Austin rose called the “Generous Gardener.” This is from his English Rose collection and has a wonderful double/full bloom.  The fragrance is a mix of the old rose with hints of musk and myrrh.


This one is looking a little frayed around the edges from the rose chafers, which are out in force right now, but it’s a lovely hedge rose with a beautiful lavender colored, full bloom.  It’s already survived 3 North Country winters, so it’s a keeper.
Iceberg rose – a floribunda rose cultivar bred in Germany; it is a shrub rose that produces an abundance of blooms and is a repeat bloomer.  Although a shrub rose, I’ve trained mine to run along the split rail fences in a rambling fashion.
Tucked in among the penstemon, this rose has numerous, tiny light pink blooms.  It’s called a Pink Grootendorst and is cold-hardy.  It forms a strong, bushy shrub and flowers continuously once it starts in mid-June.
“Great Maiden’s Blush” – a shrub rose with delicate pink blossoms, this rose has a lineage dating back to pre-15th century.  It blooms only once, but the bloom period can last up to 6 weeks.  Very cold hardy.

Mid-June – What a Delight!

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Bearded Iris “Raptor Red” – a new addition to the hot border this season
Japanese Willow and peonies in the background; lupine, catmint, foxglove, Lady’s Mantle, verbascum and the seed heads of the spent alliums in the fore
Another view of the circle garden — catmint, foxglove, Lady’s Mantle and a dwarf spruce
Peony “Festiva Maxima”
Peony “Sarah Bernhardt”
Penstemon “Pocahontas”
Valerian Alba
Hairy Woodpecker (I think)
Columbine in the shade garden