Three Things

Summer is flying by way too fast and fewer and fewer things are getting done.  I wonder where the time goes but then remember that afternoon nap which got away from me and then the hour spent just sitting on the porch ‘looking’, and things kind of all come together.  Summer is the lazy person’s nirvana.

Still a few things get done here and there.  Mulching is one thing which happened, and although it was a half load with more planned for later, it made a world of difference even if most of it is just a foot wide strip edging the beds.

front perennial border

Even with a ruthless hand the purple coneflowers (Echinacea) still seed all over.  I’m fine with that of course, although I did yank a few in the way of my mulching and edging.

Mulching would have gone much faster but even a lazy gardener can be a greedy gardener.  Beds were expanded, some enough so that the expansion was remarked upon by the housemates.  I just explained that the re-edging of the beds was necessary and left it at that.  New mulch is always appreciated, so the latest land grab was quickly forgotten.

kniphofia alcazar

Grandma’s pool path has been cleaned up, and kniphofia ‘Alcazar’ is still sending up fresh pokers.  I’ve shovel-pruned a few varieties which just don’t flower long enough, but ‘Alcazar’ has been a winner.  

A second thing of note is lily season.  They’re doing great this year and although I’d prefer them towering over the other plants I guess they’re not bad at all considering how thin the soil is that they’re growing in.

lily silk road tree lily

‘Silk Road’ gets better every year.  Very fragrant, love the color, and she’s no trouble at all. 

A few shovel-fulls of compost might be in order for these ladies since they really get no attention otherwise.  The only time they caused me any concern was in April when a late freeze damaged a few of the earliest ones.  Most of my favorites survived but a few froze back enough to call it a year.  Hopefully they’ll be back next spring.

lily leslie woodriff

Lily ‘Leslie Woodriff’ is just off to the left.  I may have to find a new home for this one since she just doesn’t seem to show off well with her companions.  That’s part of it, but truth be told I just wanted to show off the rusty foxgloves and dill 🙂 

Just a few more…

lily conca d'or

Lily ‘Conca d’Or’ is absolutely wow this week.  I snapped a potful up on clearance last summer, and this just shows how well the local nursery cares for their stock, even when past prime.

And one more.  Lilium lancifolium, the old fashioned tiger lily.  I think I read somewhere the garden version is a sterile triploid version and that sounds believable since it never sets seed, but this is the one most likely to be found in old gardens and around abandoned homesteads so it seems to be doing just fine as is.  Notice the round little dark bulbils which this lily produces where leaf meets stem.  They’re super easy to pluck off and pot up, and in just two or three years you’ll have a brand new tiger lily colony.  Be careful though.  They have a reputation as a Typhoid Mary of the lily world and are said to carry all kinds of viruses which aphids can spread to their more refined cousins.  Of course I rarely listen to good advice and grow them anyway.  They always remind me of summers in Maine and my aunt’s old farmhouse garden and I guess I’ll risk the others for that.

tiger lily lancifolium

Lilium lancifolium the tiger lily.  

I also got a hold of the double tiger lily last summer.  Beautiful or atrocious is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s just a few days behind the single so you’ll have to wait.

Off to a third thing.  The phlox are in bloom and as usual they don’t compare to the very first year I prepped a bed and planted them out, but also as usual I’m willing to forgive many of the flaws in one of my favorite flowers.  The fragrance of phlox is another summer farmhouse memory so when they’re in bloom out back even I can be convinced to grab a trowel and pruner and do a little weeding and straightening up just to be around them.

potager phlox paniculata

The potager nearly always looks a mess but to me I’m quite happy puttering around looking for surprises… and vegetables… every now and then it produces an onion or something, just enough to retain the ‘potager’ name 🙂

And maybe a fourth thing.  The Russian hollyhock (Alcea rugosa) has captured my imagination as easily as their homeland captured the last election.  The color is a soft yellow which goes with everything, the plants top out at a decent 6-7 feet, and best of all there’s still no rust to be seen on the leaves.  In the front yard the current crop of regular hollyhock seedlings are peppered with orange spots and yellowing leaves, but back here it’s still a clean slate.  I hope it stays that way.

alcea rugosa russian hollyhock

Alcea rugosa, the Russian hollyhock.  My fingers are crossed for plenty of seeds since I want to plant this thing all over.  Please ignore the Japanes beetle nibblings which have ruined some of the show…

So that’s it from here.  Hope your summer is rolling along just as nicely as mine (although maybe at a slower pace) and you’re enjoying the sunny bliss of the season.  It may all seem carefree wonder but don’t forget to give some consideration to the cooler parts of the year and by that I mean snowdrop season of course.  Edgewood Gardens should be putting out a snowdrop list soon and I have no other choice but to wait patiently until it comes to my inbox.  There’s already been a species list for the real fanatics (which I won’t answer yes or no to on ordering from) but the named drops list should be in the works as well.  When it comes out I like to think of it as Christmas in July, and as it stands right now I’m sure I’ve been very good this year 😉

16 comments on “Three Things

  1. That Hollyhock is gorgeous! Also appreciates the political commentary! Great quote! I have all but given up up here. I’m so tired of fighting the wildlife and losing! Sigh . . . At least nothing’s eating the Cleome . . . yet. BUT, your gardens do look great! I think you’ve not been as lazy as you claim!

    • bittster says:

      Well…. Even if I was a little busier than I want to admit, we just returned from a week long vacation and it seems like everything done before leaving has been undone by the time away. Isn’t it always like that! But at least we have no deer, and I can’t even think what I’d do if they ever moved in here… well actually I do know. I’d try and fence something (anything) just for a little bit of a safe spot, since I know I’d be a miserable failure at spraying.
      I feel your pain 😦

  2. I agree with Kimberley, you have been busy in the garden. The mulch tells on you. I love those old fashioned tiger lilies. Mine didn’t come up this year. I don’t know what happened. I will keep watch in case they decide to show themselves. I have only one hollyhock. It is about finished now. It performed beautifully with rust. I wish they would do that every year. I usually have only one or two. I don’t encourage them due to the rust problem. Hmmmmm I will have to check out this Edgewood Gardens. Now back to your lazy hazy days of summer. We are on the downward swing.

    • bittster says:

      Hollyhocks are a pickle. I don’t remember them getting so much rust back in the day and I wonder if it’s something new that’s developed just like all the other plagues which seem to invade the plant world every other week. I have some in the front yard just covered in rust, but the flowers are so nice anyway it’s hard to evict them.
      The double tiger lilies are open now and I just can’t figure out if they’re better or worse or just different from the singles. Variety is always nice though.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    For a ‘neglected’ garden, yours is looking pretty darn good, Frank. The yellow lily is outstanding, as is the yellow hollyhock.
    I can’t believe it is mid-July already. Time is going TOO fast!

    • bittster says:

      Haha Eliza, it’s very easy to crop out the most neglected parts of the garden 🙂
      Tomorrow is August, and that month always seems to fly by even faster than July. We must savor every day!

  4. Wow! Those lilies! I love ‘Silk Road’ with a Sunflower accent. Can’t wait for our ‘Conca d’Or’ to open. Funny how the beds always seem to expand each time they are edged …

    • bittster says:

      Love your ‘Conca d’Or’, it might have been one of your photos which encouraged me to try another one after my first started fading away. ‘Silk Road’ is another awesome one. It’s really vigorous.

  5. Cathy says:

    Love the hollyhock. Your summer garden seems to be coming along well this year and those beds do look happy and heathy!

    • bittster says:

      Things are a little sparse since the gardener took a while off in spring, but luckily the perennials came back to save him!
      Regular rain has also been a big plus!

  6. Everything looks wonderful! I love that hollyhock, too. I always ended up with rust on mine and quit growing them. But they do seem so quintessentially summery.

  7. Your garden is gorgeous, Frank. I am so envious of that hollyhock; love the color. Mine are crap this year and full of rust. P. x

    • bittster says:

      Stop it Pam. I was just on your blog yesterday and your garden (and hollyhocks) are amazing. I’m sure no one would notice a little rust 🙂
      I need to get back to your blog for a proper comment and congratulations!

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