Summertime blues

Ground hard as a brick a week ago has turned to mud, but no way I’m complaining despite having to spend considerable labor cutting and cleaning up tree limbs that litter the side garden following each thunderstorm. I routinely scan the forest canopy for limbs dangling, ready to fall, so that my eventual demise does not come during an ill timed stroll through the garden. The violent storms knock loose a few more branches, and sometimes an entire tree, but most of the litter is branches that have been long dead, hanging, waiting for the wind to blow them to the ground.  

While summer thunderstorms can be undependable for watering the garden, with much of the moisture flowing off and not seeping in, one storm after the other does the trick. While most everything seems quite happy, several spurges (Euphorbia) that are planted in their preferred dry ground are less satisfied with inches of rain. I figure all will be recover once this weather pattern settles into a more typical late summer routine that doesn’t require my daily check to see what washed away in last night’s flood.

Several of the various yellow and green leafed Blue Mist shrubs (Caryopteris × clandonensis, above and below) are just past their peak bloom, with others just beginning. Carpenter bees are regular visitors in daylight hours. Despite a dislike for the recent dampness all are splendid additions to the late summer garden.

I am giving the variegated leaf ‘Snow Fairy’ (Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’, below) a second try after an earlier one was lost beneath a wide spreading Oakleaf hydrangea. In fact, this soft wooded shrub could have, and should have been rescued, transplanted to safety, but this is not the first time that a treasure was lost. I fear the new addition has also not been given an ideal circumstance.

I rarely deadhead any flowers, but the untidy, flopping coneflowers (Echinancea purpurea, below) with black seed heads along the driveway convinced me otherwise. Almost certainly, this will encourage repeat flowering, and this should be reason enough to do the simple chore of removing the spent flowers.  The next batch of flowers will be left to go to seed for the benefit of resident birds.

Toad lilies (Tricyrtis, above and below) are flowering pretty much along their typical schedule, with a few flowers early in August and many more still to go in September and October. There is now little uncovered ground in the part sun areas where toad lilies thrive, so I see many fewer seedlings of ‘Miyazaki’ that has often been spread around the garden and potted for giveaways. It is one of the later bloomers, often flowering late in September.

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