Friday, July 30, 2010

Spectacular Friday

After all the heat and humidity, and the complete lack of rain, we get a day like today.  70s, sunny, clear, lovely.  Dry.

Storms missed us again yesterday, just by a few miles.  I watered everything I could, including the newest of the plants on the back hill, especially the new spicebushes.  A nice pin oak that was growing so well is almost completely denuded now.

The dwarf butterfly bush in Northern Exposure that I thought would not bloom (the container one bloomed weeks ago) now has purple spikes!  Kind of a lot of purple with the geraniums next to it, but it's ok.

 I chopped back the floppy wild coreopsis in the back of the Birch Garden and it looks so much better now.  Moved a bright orange zinnia from the patio wall to Meadow's Edge... zinnias are so bold and colorful they add a lot to that back garden.  Plant more next year!

I love, love, love this cardinal flower.  I made some cuttings from stems that broke when I moved this to the front of Meadow's Edge.  Get more!  Do more cuttings for next year.  The red really is intense.

Changed the hummingbird feeders today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Garden

Wow, dry, very breezy, just beautiful.  Although it got up into the 80s, the air was nice and the strong constant breeze kept me cool as I cut the new garden in front of the dry creek bed.  But it was quite a job and every muscle aches.

This new space now has a viburnum prunifolium and lespedeza.  The idea is to bring that receding side of the Meadow's Edge garden to the forefront and make it tie more into the patio.  Might still need more work.  I want to limb up the viburnum so you can still see the garden beyond, and it gets some height as a small tree, in contrast to the willowy bush clover next to it.  Hopefully I can get it to single a trunk.

When I moved the viburnum from the spruce berm, it was a job!  The berm is bone dry and the viburnum had huge roots... in the end it got ripped out, most large deep roots left behind.  All the dirt fell off what was left of the roots I could cut... it all just fell off in a dusty cloud.  Aaaack.  So I planted what amounted to a hacked bare root shrub.

I really hope it will be okay.  Lots of water, and we'll see.  And getting the pot bound lespedeza roots untangled and separated was also a job!  What a root bound plant that was.  I couldn't cut through, just used the jet spray on the hose to try to make some inroads into the solid block of roots.  I really hope both of these manhandled shrubs makes it.

I'll underplant the kidney shaped bed with Persicaria afinis "Dimity" to match the plantings of that groundcover behind it in Meadow's Edge.  Ordered 15 on sale from Lazy S.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Everything Looks Better

Breezy today, hot and windy, but the humidity is way down.  There were tornadoes yesterday in central CT.  While we got black clouds and just over a tenth of an inch of rain, there were massive storms just a few miles away!

All of a sudden today everything looks good again.  The scorched grass has greened up a little, still showing stress signs, but some areas are greening.  The gardens look better.  The meadow is dry, but some Queen Anne's Lace is appearing, which always looks nice.

It wasn't really enough rain to make everything look better, but the little bit we got, combined with lower overnight temps (it's been in the 60s at night), has helped.  And with the clearer air now that the humidity is down, everything looks more sparkly!

Clethra is blooming.  The scent is faint but so nice.

I cut off all the browned leaves from the climbing hydrangea, and it looks so much better.  I thought it was just heat stress, but Bartlett says it is a bacteria causing leaves to get brown spots.  They treated last week, and I have now removed the affected leaves.

I deadheaded the daylily stalks.  They get so messy looking.

Strawberries are producing again, and look a lot healthier now that I moved them from the terra cotta pocket jars:

We had a turkey family cruising the perimeter of the back yard this morning.  Mom, Dad, and two little chicks.  Here's one of them:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ideas for Next Year

Hot and humid again, in the 80s.  Storms passed us by to the south and then again tonight to the north, so we got no rain even though it poured at the shore and in Enfield.

While it was cooler in the morning I did some weeding, which felt good.

I deadheaded the spent flowers of the groundcover sedums that are now right at the front of Meadow's Edge.  I like the structure of the seedheads on sedum, but from the distance of the patio, they just looked dry and brown.

Here are some ideas for redesign next year:
  • Move the Swiss Stone Pine to a spot between the new Elizabeth magnolia and the witch hazels along the driveway.  More mass along the line v. Olmsteads.  Good screen.  Will be a backdrop for the flowering witch hazels and magnolia.
  • Put a rosa glauca in where the stone pine was.  Vase shaped, to 6 feet.  Nice foliage color with the bright Ogon spirea and the blue globe spruce.  Pink contrast in summer with the flower, matching the purple coneflowers.
Hmmm.  Thinking. . . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010

What a Summer

Once again, in the 90s. and humid.  A scorcher.

The summer borders are looking drab... all color has been washed out, and the dirfts of daylilies in Meadow's Edge are mostly foliage.

I went to Warner's today and bought some bright yellow marigolds to plant out (too hot today, though).  And I found a black and blue sage (Salvia guaranitica) and a gorgeous deep blue pot to put it in, although it's probably too small for the eventual size of this sage.  Like the Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red', I'll bring these potted tender salvias into the unheated garage over winter.  We'll see how that goes.  I think I need way bigger pots for both sages.

And yesterday at Moscarillo's I got more crocosmias.  Will try again!  This time they are planted at the light post, and I like the look already.  I cut back the burned foliage of the two hostas, and they will regrow around the feet of the crocosmias, hopefully not swamping them.

Changed the hummingbird feeders today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Rain this week - .64 inches the day before and .47 inches last night.  A little over an inch.  So badly needed.  Everything looks better already.  Today is cloudy and wet, in the humid 70s, but no more rain is expected.

I changed pots for the cutting butterfly bush (Blue Chip), and put that in the old orange pot.  For some odd reason the parent plant, still in Northern Exposure, has set no buds at all.  The potted cutting plant is blooming nicely, with small arched branches and deep purple spikes, and yes, lots of butterflies visit it.

I put a new hydrangea in the white pot.  It's a macrophylla mop head, 'Blau Doneau' that was a gift from Sasha at the family party on July 3.  I don't like the big floppy mopheads, but this one does have big balls of color (pink right now), and I need something big and colorful in Meadow's Edge.  This hydrangea gets to about 3 feet, so I'm hoping it will be ok in a pot, and I can move it around the garden where I need color and form.  I put it under the maple in some afternoon shade.  Now it just needs to fill out and we'll see if it works in this container.

I also got a gift caladium from Ellen at the party.  It's 'Red Flash' and has nice red leaves.  I replaced the leggy old bamboo in the dining room and put this nice foliage plant in the Chinese blue pot.  This will stay indoors as a houseplant.

The Rose of Sharon 'White Chiffon' has been blooming for ages now... so early this season!

Daylilies all are blooming.  They are kind of hidden in all the foliage in Meadow's Edge... I wanted more of a drift of color, but up close you can see they are coming out in different colors.  These nice magenta ones are behind one of the winterberries.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sad Sights

70s today, actually quite cool and damp and breezy.  But any work in the garden kicks up quite a sweat!

I cleaned out stuff today: cut back the fireworks Schubertii dried onion stalks in the front.  Cut back the Angelina sedum flower stalks too, and removed some bad looking aquilegia foliage in the Birch Garden.  I sheared the nepeta in the Birch Garden as well.

Here are some sad sights from the dry-dry hot-hot.
Icky hostas.

My tuliptree on the back hill

The nice (expensive) white oak I got from Bosco's last year

Pin oak out by the road cut

Some things do look okay... I particularly like the Physostegia Miss Manners with the coneflowers behind:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Finally Some Rain

Stormy and humid and changeable today, and finally rains came.  But only a third of an inch fell.  Enough to give some relief to all the heat stressed lawns, but not really enough to do much for all the dry damage and stress to trees and shrubs and even perennials.

Everything looks so awful.  The worst: the new white oak in the meadow, the big tuliptree, and the river birch in the meadow.  The clethra and winterberry hollies got droopy leaves, and the yellowroot has burned tan leaf scorch all over.  The climbing hydrangea looks terrible.  The new Orange Dream Japanese maple has scorch.

The Rose of Sharon is in full bloom, about a month early.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat stress

Expected to reach 100 today.  Humid.  Miserable.  Bright sunshine. 

Although we got 3 inches of rain in June, it was in the first two weeks.  Since June 14, 22 days, we have had only half an inch, back on June 23, two weeks ago.  The storms that passed through in the last half of June brought no rain... under 2 tenths of an inch.  June had some windy days too.  And now there has been nothing but dry sunshine since the start of July.

It's heat stress and dryness that is really hurting the birches.  The front one looks the worst.

And the River Birch out in the meadow is pretty well gone.  Not just yellowed leaves, but brown and crispy dead leaves.

The volunteer ash tree in the meadow, which has been growing by leaps, is showing crispiness too.

Even the tough as nails milkweeds in the meadow are dry and shriveled.

I've been watering the gardens and the new plants and trees pretty well, but I can't get all the stuff in the meadow or on the back hill.  The grass in the lawn looks terrible, even though Jim has been sprinkling.

After such a warm unusual spring, everything was ahead of schedule and looking so good.  Now, not so much.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4 weekend

The temperatures have turned almost chilly!  Dry, breezy, sunny, and in the 50s at night, 70s in the daytime!  We need rain very badly.  The various storms last week missed us, and we haven't had a good rain since just under half an inch a full week ago (got barely 2 tenths of an inch in between).  Everyone's lawn, ours included, looks dry and brown, like August.

I've been watering all the new stuff.  I'm a little worried about the new magnolia Elizabeth... leaves are curled and sick looking.  The new variegated redbud also has crummy looking leaves.  The new Orange Dream Japanese maple out in the back of the Birch Garden has leaf scorch, but it's not too bad, and it's just the way light colored leaves on Japanese maples are.

The two new hydrangeas, Bluebird and Presioza, both are in full sun and need lots of water, but they're doing ok so far.

Filled the hummingbird feeders today.