The garden before the black-eyed susans take over

The black-eyed susans are starting their annual invasion. This year the phlox are showing signs of spreading too, despite some mildew and munching by the deer. And those coneflowers!

Bees are happy, butterflies are happy, hummingbirds are happy. I’m happy!

Some shots on what is supposed to be a scorcher of a day:

butterfly on coneflower 2

phlox front

phlox and day lily

phlox and black-eyed susans

phlox, coneflower, butterfly

The lovely crocosmia are now in three or four spots, and they need to be divided again this fall (well, some of those baby bulbs dug out with fingers?).

crocosmia july 19 2015 002

crocosmia july 19 2015 006


side bed with red, red, white

Dividing the amsonia (below)  could add the feathery leaf structure to another spot. More phlox (white!)  needed in the center of the long front bed. Daisies from the side bed could work too.

divide the amsonia in the fall

And I WILL break up the black-eyed susans into sections, promise!


End of summer

Catching up after a hectic two-plus months.

The black-eyed Susans, which dominate the front bed, have been in bloom since mid-July. They’re now rapidly fading, but they kept the garden looking bright. How many can I give to neighbors?

Mass of black-eyed Susans

Phlox, purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. Lot of phlox and coneflowers this year:

Phlox and purple coneflower with black-eyed Susans

Ornamental grass and black-eyed Susans (told you they were everywhere):

Ornamental grass with black-eyed Susans

Daddy long legs on a black-eyed Susan:

Daddy long legs and black-eyed Susan

Spider’s web (with foliage from black-eyed Susans in the background):

spider's web

A fall-blooming clematis with a sweet scent, along the deck:

white clematis

in July, one of our three varieties of bee balm:

bee balm

Crocosmia under the mimosa tree:

red crocosmia

The potato crop, which we felt was disappointing. Did we not mound enough? Or do we need to find a fresh spot?


We have a glut of peppers, mostly Portuguese hots, and have had plenty of tomatoes, especially sungolds. But we also discovered some truly sweet tomatoes that look just like sungolds. Now to find out the name of them from the Brit’s colleague!

Leeks still to come. Need to use up all that basil and turn it into pesto. We still have greens, though something gets into the caged bed every once in a while and munches. And we’ll see how the fall crops turn out.

Waiting for Irene

I have no idea how Irene (and the unusually large wind field) will treat the garden. So I harvested tomatoes and beans, brought in some container plants and tipped over the bird bath (big colony of ants living in the hollow base!). And I took advantage of Friday’s sun to take some photos. Not sure how, but I have a few second blooms of rose campion, one of my favorite May/June flowers.

Japanese anemone
More phlox
I still haven't figured out what this is. I don't remember planting it

What a Weekend

Amazingly, those tulips still haven’t been munched! And we are up to six blooms.

That gave me the courage to buy two peat pots of several tulips at Lowe’s on Saturday. Granted, the investment was tiny — 5o cents apiece at the clearance rack, but I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. They’re now in bigger pots, and once they fade, I’ll find a new place to try to hide them from the deer. Maybe behind the lavender against the porch? Question for you: do you dig yours up every year, or treat tulips like annuals? Just read this on Garden Rant, and we’re one of those whose bulbs rotted because we hadn’t stored them properly one summer. (They’d been in containers. I’m not digging them out of the ground!) I’m wondering what kind of tulips work best for you. Obviously, we’ve left tulips in the ground and had them come back. Annuals? I’ll find something else unless they’re in the bargain bin.

More is in bloom, including the creeping phlox and more daffodils, though many days of hot weather means the early bloomers are fading. The rhubarb seems to be growing about an inch a day. We thought we’d transplanted all of it a couple of weeks ago, but apparently we missed one piece. Moved that on Saturday, so now we have four rhubarb plants (and I think there may be another one hidden somewhere else.)

This weekend was a big gardening weekend. We emptied out R2D2 (ie Earth Machine), and that compost was amazing! Just so light and loose! It’s on top of a couple of raised beds, and I hope all the vegetables will appreciate it. The manufacturer seems to do promotions with local governments, so if you ever have the chance to buy one, do it!  I’d definitely get another one.

In the meantime, we have filled it again with half-broken-down leaves from last fall and have dropped off a couple of buckets at a local coffee shop to be filled with grounds (speeds up the compost process). If more people did this, plants would be happier and we’d spend fewer tax dollars on garbage/leaf and brush collection.

What else got done? Strawberries are now out of a bed and in pots (anyone want some? We have TONS.) Potatoes and some snow peas are planted. Weeded parts of the flower beds, planted a few annuals to add some color, which of course led to dividing a few plants and moving things around. Mowed the lawn for the first time this year.

In all, everything seems further along than last year. Unfortunately, that goes for the weeds too. I’ve seen dandelions and the flowers from mock strawberries. Back to attacking dandelions and trying to make a dent with some hand-weeding.

Homegrown containers

Overflowing with petunias
Overflowing with petunias

The Brit gets all the credit for these jam-packed containers of petunias (I can only claim the yellow calendulas), begun under the grow lights and now dazzling our deck (and a bit of the front bed).
We opted for containers after the rabbit nibbled off the flowers of all the red petunias within days of planting them last year. Our only quibble this time is that all the nearly white ones ended up in one pot.
Unfortunately we haven’t had as much success with the night phlox. Or the knautia, which has disappeared after being planted in beds. We now intend to use the rhubarb bed to get perennials big and healthy before moving them to more permanent sites.

No more risk of frost!!

Or so says the 15-day weather forecast, which takes us through Mothers Day and our frost-free day. I am thrilled!!! So I’ve gone ahead and transplanted two Silvery Fir heirloom determinates into containers and am hoping to be eating homegrown juicy tomatoes with my Fourth of July burger. They’ll live in the garage at night until I figure out how to keep them out of harm’s way (ie deer.) I hope to get a few other varieties in the beds later today. (I’ll hold a few back just in case the forecast is really wrong.)
We’re heading into our fourth day of temperatures in the 90s, so a lot of the daffodils have wilted. But some of the later-blooming ones, including the gorgeous Tahitis, are looking great.

A Tahiti daffodil
A Tahiti daffodil

Forget-me-nots are blooming, as are the creeping phlox. And the first bearded iris flowerheads are out, so blooms can’t be far behind. Last year, the first one bloomed April 30. Think we’ll match that this year. Plenty of irises to split this summer, though, and plenty to give away to whoever would like some.