Friday, August 19, 2016

Feeling Better

Well, this is how I feel right now -- oddly unkempt, brightly hopeful, a little derelict and surprisingly upright.

Lobelia cardinalis - cardinal flower

I'm better now than I was in the last post. The oppressive humidity has dropped, and the days are summery and nicer. A day trip to the shore yesterday with my garden group was delightful, a real restorative.

I love that one cardinal flower trying to escape his companions

I'm still discovering trees I have lost this summer. The large pagoda dogwood that I carefully planted in shade near the woods is completely gone now. Like the blue beeches and the hemlock and blueberries, it dropped all its leaves and has either gone into total dormancy or is dead.

But I'm better. We're watering a lot more now and parts of the lawn are quite green, although they are mostly clover. A little bit of the stressed 'Dimity' Himalayan fleeceflower is blooming now where the sprinklers consistently hit it.

The lawn is mostly clover now. The rabbits approve of that.

I had started dahlias from seed in pots earlier in the summer, and I planted those out in some of the open bare spots of the garden where I had to take out things. A rabbit ate three of them to the ground, but the others are okay. I'm not even sure what color or kind of dahlia blooms they'll be, but when they flower there will be some color.

I cut down the big diseased baptisia under the bedroom window, leaving a large open spot that I filled by plunking a container of cosmos over the cut stumps. I trimmed all the frazzled epimedium foliage to the ground. It looks bare but spare under the maple now.

I've been cutting off dead branches (a huge section of the star magnolia had to come off) and all this cleaning up of dead stuff has made me feel better.

The Birch Garden has gone into its summer mode, where purple reigns.
Garden phlox 'Nicky' is an ungodly shade of purple,
but it's tall, it's colorful, and it's what is there.

In close up the garden looks fine, surrounded by its frame of green lawn. But if I step back, the lawn looks pretty bad.  So I don't look, I just squint to keep the garden in my frame of vision and not the lawn.


You know what looks good despite the dry summer? The panicle hydrangea is blooming its head off.

'Tardiva' hydrangea paniculata.

It is bungee-corded all through the interior to keep the floppy branches from arching out and splaying open, and so far that is working to keep this hydrangea a nice shape.

Another surprise is that the delicate little flowers of the hardy geraniums have finally come out -- they are quite late this year, but pretty and profuse. The plants themselves are looking thin especially beyond this one patch, but they are flowering nicely.

Geranium wlassovianum

I thought I had killed the woody caryopteris 'Sonw Fairy' when I dug it up this spring. It really was about as gone as could be after I found I could not dig it up whole or move it. It got separated into brittle chunks of woody root and was gone.

Here it is now, looking good despite having been hacked to pieces and despite the harsh dry summer.

Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy'

The walkway at the side of the house looks surprisingly refreshing. The Japanese forest grasses look like golden waterfalls. I can almost hear water burbling as I walk by.

Hakonechloa grasses, the 'Snow Fairy' caryopteris, and a blue leaved
St. Johnswort look lush despite the dry summer

My mood is better. There are lovely things to see in the garden as long as I don't look at the trees I've lost, the empty spots where perennials were cut down, or areas of the lawn that browned out.

There are refreshing spots to walk through, and some color in places. The Rose of Sharon by the dining room window is thin looking and a little stressed, but its big white flowers make me smile each time I see them framed in the window.

Rose of Sharon 'White Chiffon' outside the dining room window.

So, I'm not as despairing as my last post. Still unnerved by an awful summer and too many losses, but better. Still looking at property out west, but that's a decision long in the making involving grown children, possible grandchildren and lifestyle changes for the future. That's another post.

Right now, I'm good.


  1. So glad to hear there's a few things that can give you pleasure. Fingers crossed that it will get better.

    1. A little rain and now things are getting much better. . . .