The heat of summer

Certainly, there must be rain any day now as temperatures climb into the mid nineties. Rain is overdue by several days, so I chip out holes in dry ground as a few hostas and ferns are moved to fill open space beneath the bigleaf magnolia’s (Magnolia macrophylla) canopy now that summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) are dormant. Thunderstorms are frequent through the summer months, and rarely is there an extended period without enough rain to keep the mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, below) from sagging in the heat, or to keep a long established hosta going when it is moved across the garden. While I prefer planting just prior to a day of rain, today I must lug the watering jug around the garden.

Again this year, without severe winter freezes the hydrangeas are flowering splendidly. A late freeze in early spring did minimal damage, and none to Oakleaf (H. quercifolia, above), lacecap, and mountain ((H. serrata, below) hydrangeas that are now at their peak. I must not forget panicled hydrangeas (H. paniculata) that flower later in July and on new wood so that freezes are never a concern.

A single ‘White Swan’ coneflower (Echinancea purpurea ‘White Swan’) has spawned a dozen or more white and purple flowered seedlings (below) along the driveway, all taller than the parent and with curious variations in flower forms and color. A year ago some seeds were stripped and tossed behind this clump, and many are just getting started.

With the support of a tall witch hazel, blueberries (above) in the lower, rear garden have now grown too tall for easy harvest when the berries ripen in a few weeks, which is just as well since I rarely grab more than a few handfuls, leaving the remainder for the birds. An apple was espaliered on the sunny wall of the garden shed several years ago, and I did not really expect to ever harvest one. A year ago several apples tempted me, but the next day all were gone. I suppose one of our neighborhood deer was waiting, just as I was, and despite the ill timed spring freeze that injured flowers and limited fruit, today there is a single apple ripening. I expect that deer will get this one too. I suppose it’s the least I can offer since repellents discourage their sampling of other garden delights.

This has been an exceptional year for the various lilies, with the Asiatic lilies past bloom now, and with a lone lily (below) beginning to fade. Unsurprisingly, I have no idea where this lily came from, or when it was planted, though I don’t recall seeing it in prior years so it must be recently planted.

Understandably, flowers of hostas are mostly overlooked since most feature outstanding foliage, but the blooms are inescapable in the garden today (below). Some large clumps display hundreds of flowers, while others are more limited, but also lovely.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie says:


  2. tonytomeo says:

    Hydrangeas are sensitive to frost? I suppose that makes sense. Ours perform better here in response to a bit of chill during winter. It does not get cool enough to hurt them.

    1. Dave says:

      In a winter that is slightly colder than our average, branch tips and flower buds are killed. Our past two winters have been very mild, and fortunately late freezes have not been a problem.

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