Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebration in Orange

We've had some lovely weather, dry and sunny. Cool, with warm afternoons in the 80s and crisp mornings in the 60s, although today, Independence Day, it is overcast and damp.

My blueberry netting system, held up by skinny poles and flowerpots, is working. I brought in a colander full of blueberries this morning.

It's no problem getting in under the netting to pick, although the stooped posture needed to get at the berries is back stiffening.

But yum. They are sharp (not really tart) and sweet, but don't really have the deep rich taste of some blueberries. Maybe I'm picking them too soon and they need to stay on the bush longer? There are so many out there I can experiment with picking at different stages.

Fourth of July means orange ditch lilies are in bloom.

They are everywhere, all up and down the local roads, literally lining roadside ditches.

More than red white and blue, orange is the color of Independence Day for me.

Hemerocallis fulva is the common daylily that spreads and forms big stands in the wild. We always called them tiger lilies because they are orange with brown and black spots inside the flower.

They are tough and vigorous and very common. They are nowhere near as refined as daylily hybrids and they don't bloom for very long. They are weeds and you either love their happy color or hate their aggressive habits.

My gardening friends could not believe I wanted to plant these tall weedy orange lilies, but they make me so happy I decided I needed to have some in my garden.

I put them in a line on either side of the furthest white birch, angled out on either side, like wings flanking the birch. Because the strip is mowed on all sides, the daylilies will be kept in check.

The orange lilies are behind the Birch Garden and they pop in the far distance.

I actually had wanted to put a big line of tiger lilies in a more prominent spot, all along the front of the bottlebrush buckeye hedge. Their hot orange against the big green leaves of the buckeyes would have made a nice layering effect.

Wouldn't a long row of tiger lilies look great anchoring the foot of this buckeye hedge? Mounding foliage at the bottom, tall orange spires in front and then the big green leaves of the buckeyes behind?

But ditch lilies only bloom for a brief time in July and their foliage after that is icky. Better to enjoy them at the back of the garden where they are tall enough and bright enough in bloom to be seen, but can then hide behind the Birch Garden at the back of the property when they go by.

They really do mean summer is underway, even if temperatures are cool.

The other happy looking flower that blooms for Fourth of July is the Shasta daisy, "Becky'. They have the cleanest, freshest look. They just seem friendly.

All is forgiven now after this uneasy, unsettling spring. Everything looks glorious. In May I was unhappy about the winter losses and extended dry spell and the slow awakening from a harsh season. Even in early June I was still taking out dead plants, cutting off winterkill and fussing over no-shows.

But it's July now and the iteas that I had to cut back so hard are full and beautiful. The 'Forest Pansy' redbud lives after all, and leafed out. The Stewartia pseudocameallia is not lost, and has deep green leaves and even a few flowers on the lower branches. After cutting off the top third of the branch structure it looks okay.

The sassafras that lost all its lower branches has a young new sassafras growing in front of its tall naked trunk now.

Like all the other trees and shrubs in my garden, the new sassafras trees loved the frequent rain we had in June followed by sunny days, and has put out lots of new growth.

Everything looks leafy and happy. Bee balm is blooming. Nasturtiums are filling out, clematis is exuberant, little low dahlias in the front of the house are flowering in bright colors.

Irises are blooming by the bridge over the dry creekbed; they are an unusual lavender-magenta color.

The carpet roses I moved last year are blooming bright red, and a soft orange coreposis is in flower too. Butterfly weed is deep orange and eye catching. All the plants in my garden look happy right now, and out in the meadow stands of swamp milkweed are opening their mauve flowers.

Astilbes are lushly blooming. White 'Bridal Veil' astilbe is overwhelming the deep red one -- I had planned this area to be half red and half white.

The red and white astilbes and my dark blue blueberries all say Fourth of July in a red white and blue kind of way. But it's really bright orange that celebrates the holiday when the ditch lilies stand up tall and open.

Happy Fourth of July!

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