Sunday, July 8, 2007

The hot July garden

Hot, hot, hot and no rain, not a bit. There's not a whole lot happening right now, but here's a look at what's in bloom.

A month on, here's what the pot on the steps looks like: dusty miller has vanished, wave petunia is crowded out by the purple sweet potato vine, which is covered with tiny holes because I did not drench it with Merit (though I'll do that today). Also, the coleus is a coarser variety than I had realized. Nevertheless, I still like this for the color scheme and its lushness.

Here's what it looked like in May, with lots more petunia blossoms in evidence:

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The datura self-sows every season. I think my neighbors enjoy it more than I do, since it blooms around the corner in the sad side garden (see below). I think this came originally from Lee, several years ago. Notice the tiny spikes on the bloom, perhaps signalling its poisonous nature. According to Wikipedia,
Common names include jimson weed, Hell's Bells, Devil's weed, Devil's cucumber,
thorn-apple (from the spiny fruit), pricklyburr (similarly), and somewhat
paradoxically, both angel's trumpet and devil's trumpet (from their large trumpet-shaped
flowers), or as Nathaniel Hawthorne
refers to it in the the Scarlet Letter
apple-peru. The word Datura comes from Hindi dhatūrā (thorn apple);
record of this name dates back only to 1662 (OED).

And here's the sad side garden. Sad because it was meant to be a cutting garden, but then I planted the white gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides)and some lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Anybody want some? They both spread like crazy. I'll get a grip on this garden some day, but not this year.

Here is Aunt Betsy's day lily blooming with the Russian sage (unknown Perovskia variety), which I remember falling in love with twenty years ago on a trip to California. I really need to either cut back or move the sage - it's totally crowded out by the daylilies. It does well in this hot, dry location, and I need to give it some room to grow.

The benefits of pruning - although I dissed this book a while ago, I did take her advice and cut back the foxglove just after it finished blooming. And now, six weeks or so later, a new (though small) flower stalk!

The hostas are all in bloom right now - the kind someone somewhere refers to as "the mundanes." But it's fun to watch the bees bumbling in and out of the flowers. Look really closely at the left-hand side of the right-hand flower...


Martha said...

Your garden is beautiful, despite the heat, and so is your new blog look! Commenting on several posts:

I'm headed outside right now to prune my fading foxglove. Thank you for that!

What is Merit?

I like varigated things the way I like yogurt. Only sometimes, only some flavors and only in very small quantities. The rest of the time they kind of make me queasy. I have to say, the Fallopia and the suspected kin are in that category for me.

Mama has sweetbox all under her pines and it is a really lovely plant. She's been trying to get me to plant it in our front garden, but I have worried it wouldn't do as well here with our winters.

Caroline said...

Merit is an insecticide, I'm sorry to say. I heard about using it specifically against the pinholes you get in sweet potato vine leaves. When I went to Roxbury Mills, they didn't have plain Merit but offered an insecticide that contains Merit. I thought I had bought some, but a search of the shed was fruitless, so maybe I thought I'd wait... so the pinholes continue.
I love your yogurt analogy! And I'm willing to try sweetbox and will report back.

Lysandra said...

Interesting to know.