Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Humid and damp. Not terribly hot -- it has only been in the 80s the past few days, but the humidity makes it so awful to be outside. And the mosquitoes are ferocious. On my morning walk around the garden today they were a torment.

Those are the problems with the summer conditions here. I also have some plant problems.

The salix yezoalpina, groundcover willow, has a bacterial pest I think. I'll have to do some research to see what it is.

The whole stand was looking great in spring, filling out rather aggressively and blanketing the east side of the foundation. But now the browning tips of the leaves are showing up and some are curling and wrinkling.

It got the same condition last year and defoliated, looked awful and of course never colored in fall.

Another problem is the white pine weevil in the Norway spruce out on the hill. I know what this pest is, and I know I have to get out there and cut the leader off.

Here's a design problem, not a pest issue. The nasturtiums just won't climb up the towers, and so they look like lumps of greenery trapped inside a cage.

They were supposed to be trailers, so I thought I could get them to roam up the support, but it isn't happening. I liked 'Gleam' last year because it climbed the inkberry hollies nearby so well. I might try that one again next year in these twig towers. So far pffft on these 'Variegated Queen' which are supposed to trail 6 feet.

Another design problem that I might change next year is the little St. Johnswort in the blueberry garden.

It's blooming well and I like the bright yellow. But I wish I had put in the St. Johnswort I had several years ago that has blue green foliage, big daffodil sized yellow blooms, and gets tall and bushy. That one was Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst' and I loved it.

This one, 'Blue Velvet', is nice enough, but the leaves are little and the flowers are profuse but small. Next to the small leaved blueberries and groundcover fleeceflowers, there is no contrast. And it isn't bushy enough to cover the sparse bottom of the clematis on the iron tower.  It's tidy and cute, though, and I will move it somewhere else.

So those are the problems in the early July garden. I must do something about the pests, but I will wait till next year to do something about the design issues.

And of course there are tons of successes in this wet summer garden!  Just a few:

Love the drumstick alliums popping up all over.

 The California poppies are open. I thought they'd be orange.

The one remaining New Jersey Tea shrub is blooming. I like its low roundy shape and pretty flowers so much, and the bees do too.

I'm pleased with the Black Beauty dahlias, and would definitely plant more next year.

Oh, and the blueberries are coming in great. Despite not netting them, I am getting a bowlful every day. Birds and critters seem to be ignoring them so far. How can that be for long?