The deck was cleaned and ready just after Memorial day. Considering how much extra time I supposedly have that isn’t much different than a “normal” year… and by normal I mean getting all the summer stuff up and running a week or two or three after everyone else does. Things just run late here, and I’m starting to see that maybe it’s more than just basic laziness. Maybe it’s laziness plus plain-old slow thats effecting how things run around here.
I did manage to do a front border cleanup of old tulip foliage and baby weeds, and at least that part of the garden looks promising.
Slow is just fine with me. A more generous person might say I’m not, and that I just overthink things, but unless your idea of overthinking includes an ADD journey of the mind then I don’t think it’s that either. Maybe it’s something else…. someone else accused me of being a perfectionist, but that’s clearly not what’s going on either and I gave a little laugh when they said it. One look around the garden really settles that point.
Iris ‘Demi Deuil’, an old, smaller iris with a cool pattern to it.
The garden is only now coming back into rights after the cold spell we went through in May. Iris season has been disappointing with many freeze-deformed and aborted flower stalks and blooms, and only a few of the amazing clumps which usually celebrate the finishing up of spring. Two years of excessively wet summers didn’t help as plants were rotting left and right, but I know they’ll be back. The bigger uncertainty is how many more I need for next year in order to fill this emotional void. I suspect there is some transplanting and dividing in store… maybe a few new ones as well 😉
A new allium this year, A.nigrum ‘Pink Jewel’. The white, straight species is so reliable I thought it was time to try one of the pinks. So far my impression is lukewarm but I’ll give it time.
Although thoughts of dividing the iris have already sprung up, there’s so much more to do first. Tulips and daffodils need digging, snowdrop seeds need sowing, weeding is endless, and the lawn always needs another cut. I should mulch as well, plus the potager re-design needs finishing up before the growing season rolls over into 2021. I should really give an update on that, but just a few more finishing touches before I bare my soul on that one. In the meantime at least the foundation beds are taking care of themselves…
The relaxed and overfilled foundation bed is completely unlike what a front foundation planting “should” be, but there are too many interesting plants out there to waste time on yew meatballs and few azaleas in a sea of mulch.
What might be the most anticipated plant of the year (possibly only by me) is the huge self-sown verbascum sitting right there in front of the house. It’s a weed. I know. But also so lush and promising, and I’m hoping it’s something just a little fancier than the regular run of the mill mulleins. I’ve let both grow here in the past, so it’s a crap shoot as far as seeing which one this will be, but it’s huge, so I love it.
Johnny jump ups trying to outgrow the mullein.
What I don’t love is weeding and planting the tropical garden. In a no-excuses gardening year I’m stuck weeding it properly and not doing the old throw-it-all-in-and-eventually-it-will-all-look-ok planting method. I don’t like it. It’s work, and I think the tropical bed’s days are numbered. We will see, but as of today a swath of sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa) which was slated to be removed, has been left, and although I never planted it there, leaving it in place sure is easier and a spot of low maintenance doesn’t sound bad today… even if that means a much smaller spot of the tropics.
The tropical garden in progress. Who doesn’t like a hit of bright color on their way to enjoy a day at the pool next door?
There will be other things to keep me occupied. Right now for some strange reason the wild back of the yard is my favorite spot to be occupied. I barely lift a finger there but love to watch the bugs and birds and see what all can happen on its own.
Tent caterpillars used to disgust me but once lily beetles, gypsy moths, and Japanese beetles moved in, these little tents of silk barely register. Maybe the birds will enjoy a snack, the apples off this tree are overrated, and there are still leaves on the tree, so it seems everyone wins a little when they stay.
I spent some of the first quarantine days digging various tree seedlings and shrub transplants into the berm that stands between us and the new Industrial park behind our house. They don’t look like much at all but in a few years…. maybe….you never know how well these things will do. In the meantime they’re alive, and some of the rooted rhododendron branches which I butchered off their mother in April are actually alive enough to bloom. Alongside the clovers and mustards and daisies it’s quite the show, but I’m not sure everyone around here prefers lively flowers over neatly mown embankments. Let them mow it themselves I say.
I’m endlessly fascinated by these new weedy little meadows alongside the berm. I don’t think it’s normal to be this obsessed, but who cares? So what if I get overly excited for a new weed showing up or a new wildflower opening, I think it’s grand, and all I have to do to enjoy it is mow a few walking paths.
I hate to leave you off talking about weeds, but after being covered in smartweed last year the berm has now transitioned over to all kinds of clover and grass. I don’t know what triggered the change but I suspect there was some fertilizer spread when they first seeded the slope, and now that its run out the smartweed is not happy.
Hopefully the red buckeye (aesculus pavia) can tolerate the full sun and dry soil of the berm. I’d like to see it expand into a nice sized shrubby tree.
So I could talk for a while about the types of grass, the relative attractiveness of their seed heads, the spreading daisies, the annoying crownvetch and mugwort which I still need to eliminate, the rudbeckia yet to come, and all the topsoil building which is taking place, but I’ll spare you. My fingers are sore from weeding and sanding and chiseling mortar and the typing isn’t helping much so you’re off the hook and I’ll just wish you a happy Sunday.