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August Rocks: Garden Tour 1

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The August cooldown is here. A Canadian air mass is holding sway and the air smells of hay and sweet wine. 

I took a garden tour last night after spending much of the day mowing, raking, weeding, and preening my flower beds. I don't do a lot of preening. There's too much of the other stuff to be done. 

I'm celebrating right now because I am no longer in pain. I returned home from New England to find two weeks' worth of grass growing wild on a saturated lawn. It had rained for most of the time I was away. I mowed it into soggy windrows, the mower gagging on the clumps, and Liam and I raked the whole damn yard the next day, after the sodden green wad of clippings had had a chance to not dry overnight. It was like raking wet cow manure. My lower back went into spasm from overuse and stayed that way for almost three weeks. Oddly enough, getting in and out of my car was the most painful thing I had to do. I'd sit and think about how I was going to complete the maneuver for about 30 seconds, then begin the process. I felt 100 years old. Having a complaining back affects almost everything you want to do. I send this message of hope out to back pain sufferers everywhere. It does heal. I mean, an overuse injury does. I also give you this link to Lawrence Gold's simple floor exercises which Liam and I did together. Not surprisingly, he healed a lot faster than I did. These exercises sped the process for both of us, for sure.

Anyway. Pain is boring. I wanted to take you on a little garden tour because the rain that brought the pain has also brought such beautiful flowers to my gardens.  We'll start at the front door.  I'm happy with this hanging basket. Supertunia "Honey" is finally showing some good color after being a bit bleached out for most of the summer. 

I don't think I bought a single lobelia plant this year. They're all seed volunteers from various planters and pots in the greenhouse, carefully picked out and nurtured in separate pots when they volunteer. That's how I roll--scrounging and saving, getting as much as I can for nothing.  I did buy some seeds of multicolored lobelias and was happy to get this one. I was going for the dark amethyst but the rabbits ate most of them to the ground. There's a theme here. If I want to grow rabbit candy, I have to elevate it.

The Achimenes are FINALLY blooming. They got a very late start thanks to freaking chipmunks (I'm looking at YOU, Tilda Sixbuttons!!) 

who climb my bonsai shelves and dig up the rhizomes to eat. Then they chew up the plants just to make sure everything is completely dead. 

I had this beautiful scheme this year to grow Pink Nighty plants for sale at the Marietta Farmer's Market. I had long planters all planted with my best rhizomes, saved back from being sold at my talks (I sold a passel of 'em this spring!). And chipmunks ate all but about 13 rhizomes. I know now I'll have to start them inside next year. I'm thinking about using the glassed in tower room as a sort of auxiliary greenhouse for such tender n' tasty things, when it's gotten too hot and sunny to have them in the greenhouse proper. 

This is "Pink Nighty," and man, oh man is it pink. Shocking Pink Nighty. The iPhone exaggerates, and takes away some of the nicer coral tones, but it is that bright!

I just love this little gesneriad. Adore it. And am so happy to finally have some abloom on the benches. I don't dare put them on the front porch. Tilda will definitely devour them, if Notch the bunny doesn't get there first. 

A chipmunk-planted black-oil sunflower came up amongst the evening primroses in the front bed. It's too tall for the front but it's so charming I let it stay. 

A first for me: Fuchsia magellanica, native to temperate parts of southern South America, and hardy in Ohio, started blooming in July! It usually waits until September. Don't know why, just grateful. And Hosta "June" is incredibly late to bloom, so I have this probably unrepeatable combo going in the front shade bed. Hummer heaven!

I absolutely love having a hardy fuchsia around. So durable, too. And it roots from cuttings in plain  water. What's not to love?

Moving on out from the front door, Chet pauses to make sure he is in the photo. You can see those big beautiful hibiscus thoroughly enjoying their summer at camp. They just love sleeping under the stars.

Creole Lady says YEAH!!

An awful photo of that gorgeous little dwarf pomegranate bonsai which is exceeding all expectations for flowers and fruit!!
It's got at least four garnet-red pommies about the size of cherry tomatoes and a continuing cascade of neon-orange ballerina tutu flowers in leathery calyxes. What an awesome plant!!

Let's head out along the garage sidewalk toward the vegetable garden. Rudbeckia "Goldsturm" is battling with a hardy hibiscus  for supremacy. I've about had it with the hibiscus. So big and leggy and woody and thuggish, and it makes babies everywhere. But the thought of digging it out makes my back twinge. Maybe I can poison it. :D

I'd really rather grow roses, zinnias, cosmos and Rudbeckia. The foliage to flower ratio is much better on those.

Yes. Dig out those hibiscus. I will help you. Well, I will supervise.

Look how his little paw is just striking the sidewalk. 


Beautiful garden and while the little paw is adorable, the smile is outstanding!

how nice of Chet to coordinate his pink tongue with the pink flowers in that last photo!

I sure didn't know there was a hardy fuschia. I will be looking for one of those. Your garden looks happy so does Chet in the last photo. Sweet ole boy.

I was amazed to find wild fuschia growing in the wild northwest of Ireland! Talk about hardy!

My Achimenes are still not blooming - owing to a couple of embarrassing accidents early in the season that resulted in their having to be repotted not once, but twice. I think there's at least one bud on one of them now... HAHA!

Update! I just looked at them and there's a bloom! ONE!!!

Posts like this make me want to immediately go into my (much smaller) garden and start puttering around, except it's nighttime. Have you thought about writing children's books? Tilda Sixbuttons (HA!) would be a great character - like Peter Rabbit.

Beautiful! Thanks for the tour! Chipmunks are killing me this year! There is an explosion of them on LI... pulling all my plants into their burrows... :(

I mean....what's cuter in a flower pot, a chipmunk or a bonsai??? (Easy for me to say, who has no chipmunks in my yard)

Also, I have to make time for "preening" my gardens and pots every day. It's what makes all the work worth it! (I love that term, by the way! admiring them, primping them.) It's been a super growing year, hot and lots of rain, plus I've taken no vacation (yet) for them to pine away for lack of care.

You are so nice! You name the critters even though they eat your flowers. Maybe I'll try that and then I won't mind quite so much. But last year, deer ate my rose bushes, thorns and all! I can't think that they were that desperate. Just greedy.

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