Summer is here and so is that wonderful humidity and heat. Oddly enough we’ve also been getting rain-free days, and when I think back to last week there were actually a number of absolutely beautiful days, which I swear did not exist last year. Suddenly I love gardening again and even though I actually had to water a few things (for the first time in months) things are generally pretty good. I’m thinking today’s Independence day celebrations should be quite excellent, even if we don’t have tanks rumbling along in the local parade or fighter jets buzzing the church picnics.
Yesterday evening the yard cleanup was as far as it was going to get, and the light was low, so I was able to get a few decent pictures taken before retiring to the porch with a cold drink and ceiling fan.
There’s a lot of altitude this summer with tall plants reaching for the sky. The rusty foxgloves are topping out at just under six feet which is not bad at all since I do like wandering around with my plants rather than looking down at them.
Usually the fuzzy leaved verbascums (mullein) are my high altitude stars but this year I have a Canada lily (Lilium canadense) which has taken it upon itself to reach for the sky. Before slouching back down to my height, it was measuring in at just over the seven foot mark, and it wouldn’t have been the worst idea to tie in a stake to keep it up there.
Last year this fellow was barely half the height with just two or three blooms, but this is a lily which loves steady moisture, and trust me it had moisture galore last year.
A sibling of this plant just a few feet away has decided to focus on multiplying, and although the stalks are only about half the height there are quite a few little sprouts coming up here and there around the main plants.
Other robust plants around the garden include some soft yellow hollyhocks which I’m hoping can avoid the rust attacks which did in last year’s planting. I think this is Alcea rugosa, the Russian hollyhock, and although the color is limited to yellow it’s hopefully a start in finding a hollyhock which can grow and bloom in this garden without losing every last leaf to a rusty mess of diseased foliage. Word is there are other rust-resistant forms out there, and I think it’s not the worst idea to give a few more a try 🙂
Things are still pretty short in the tropical garden but at least I finally have it planted, edged, and mulched (and mostly weeded). The mulch is all lawn clippings raided from the piles dumped in the woods so today it’s kind of smelly, but hopefully that fades away as it dries out a bit. The cannas and elephant ears love this mulch. Between the heat and the nutrients which wash out of the grass they should really take off now… assuming my neighbors haven’t overdone it with the weed killer which could be hitchiking in with the clippings (although I don’t think they’ve been spreading anything around lately).
I may try and tackle a little more mulching and weeding this morning before it gets too hot and sweaty and the pool lures me away. We’ll see. In the meantime I know for sure I’ll be admiring the Regal lilies which are flowering fantastically this week, and are filling the whole backyard with that slightly overpowering scent of summer.
I like the lilies. They’re remarkably easy and fast from seeds and these are just the ones which survived a late frost earlier in the year. If all would have gone according to plan there would have been about twice as many, but hopefully next year the ones which froze to mush will return. Plans may be overrated anyway. None of the plans included the dark purple ‘Lauren’s Grape’ opium poppy which reseeded from last year’s far more pathetic plantings, and if the plan to dig up tulips worked out I’m sure these would have been lost.
So if you have plans to enjoy the holiday I hope they work out well, and if they don’t I hope things come together even better, and if today is just Thursday rather than a holiday, well then the weekend is approaching for you as well. In any case here’s to a beautiful day!