Six on Saturday – Summer into Fall

Our six week drought ended with a week of rain. We were lucky because we didn’t get flooding like some other areas nearby. The parched soil drank in the water, and all the plants perked up. The grass could be seen getting greener by the hour.

1. The things blooming now in my garden remind me that fall is just around the corner. Colorful crepe myrtles adorn my yard and neighborhood. Mine are white, a deep pink and a smaller purple. I bought the white and purple, but the pink were plants that someone had put out for the trash. So I snagged them. I really love the exfoliating bark. The old bark reminds of the black snake skins I used to find in our barn back in Harford County on the Western shore.

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2. A friend gave me a small cutting of a Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) that came from her father’s garden. I didn’t realize Rose of Sharon was in the Hibiscus family. This plant is tucked back in a shaded corner of the garden and would like more sun, but it’s where there was an available spot. The flowers are lovely. In my Google search several places noted that these could be used as container plants. I might try that and get this beauty into the sun.

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3. I am seeing some Japanese beetles, so I put a little dishwashing detergent in some water and flicked them into it to drown. The only reason I can think that this SunPatiens is looking so sick is that one day — when it was so hot — I poured the detergent water on that end of the window box. Won’t do that again! All the other plants look fine. What I really need to do is go to the garden center where I bought the bedding plants and see if I can replace the sick one.

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4. The hyacinth bean vines are just beginning to flower. The seeds were saved from plants a friend gave me. She passed away two years ago, but is remembered in my garden. The hose was put away later, but I forgot to go out for another photo. It seems there are always spots in my garden that make everyone know a real person, with a real life, lives here. I was inside making tomato sauce from tomatoes grown in my bed at the Community Garden.

I just realized looking at this photo that I have a replacement for the sick SunPatien mentioned in #3. It’s in a pot at the lower left of this picture. I now remember I had a couple left over from the flat I bought.

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5. The Limelight hydrangea has started to flower. And the Arabella clematis, which has been blooming since spring, is now weaving its way through to the other side of the lattice.

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6.  Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a milkweed native and mine are now setting seed pods. I haven’t seen any Monarch caterpillars, however. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed as their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. Google tells me that Monarch butterfly populations have dropped more than 90% in the last twenty years because of a loss of host plants, so growing milkweed plants is very important for future of monarchs. I’m trying to do my bit. These plants don’t mind some drought once established, so I will plant some of the seeds when they are ready. I wouldn’t mind having a whole bed of these. They would be a nice complement in front of the yellow rudbeckia.

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That’s my six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

Six on Saturday – July 7, 2018 – Rain Dance Visualization

I am writing this on Friday morning, obsessively checking the weather channel radar map to see if the predicted 80% chance of rain is going to get to us. Sometimes it just doesn’t transit across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. The ground is cracking and I will lose plants if we don’t get significant rain soon. I can’t water enough to keep up. The gardens are looking sad with a few exceptions. Note: it is now almost 7pm and the rain has just skirted around us. My rain dance visualization had no effect. Tomorrow I will haul hoses.

Here’s my six. Only photos that don’t show the desolation…

  1. This small tree is a Vitex or chaste tree. I prune mine to keep it from getting too tall. It’s glorious for a couple of weeks. A native of the Mediterranean area, it doesn’t mind our summer dry spells.Pruning the suckers on the bottom is on the “to do” list, although they do hide a wonky stem that was the result of someone, who shall remain nameless, backing over the plant when it was small.

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2. A couple of years ago I had a wheelbarrow that I didn’t know how to dispose of. So I painted it purple, put potting soil in it and planted it with mint.  I learned my lesson about the invasive quality of mint years ago as a newbie gardener. Now it only goes in elevated pots or containers as the roots will escape through drainage holes. This spring I replaced the soil in the barrow, replanted rooted cuttings and put a chartreuse coleus in the front (because I had been at a nursery and couldn’t help myself). The pot on the right side has left over SunPatiens from planting the window boxes in the front of the house.

I put a drip irrigation hose in the mint which is keeping it fresh, but you can see the drooping yellow jasmine by the fence. I need to run some drip to it.

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3. The cleome that were tiny two weeks ago are going to town despite the drought. The window boxes are planted with SunPatiens which do well given the late afternoon sun on the front of the house. I have drip irrigation in the boxes.

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4. This is heliopsis Burning Heart. I ordered it last spring and it was puny looking when it came. I’ve parked it in one of the raised beds so I could keep an eye on it.

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5. Tomatoes are coming on. These are Shah, a white variety, which I’ve never grown before. The seeds were included with other seeds I’d ordered. Shah’s leaves are different as you can see below the tomatoes. There is also a Sungold in this pot. The leaves of that variety look like traditional tomato leaves.

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6. The photo below shows what happens when you wait too late to prune. I had already cut back the red twig dogwood once but it was over powering the avocado sculpture so I cut it back again. A couple of days of temperatures in the high 90’s with blistering sun and this sun scald is the result. Tony Tomeo wrote a great blog post about summer heat and plants.

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I hope you enjoy my Six on Saturday for this week. The meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.