Despite chirpy assurances from area weather reporters that “everyone” in our region has repeatedly gotten soaking rains over the past month, a few of us, at least, have not shared in the bounty. Barely 1 inch of rain over the last 4 weeks, combined with an unusually dry June and July and long stretches of brutally hot weather, does not make for joyous gardening. To be honest, I was [this] close to simply skipping Bloom Day this month. Then this little guy changed my mind.
I sowed the sweet pea seeds back in April and the seedlings looked good in May; then the rain disappeared and so did the plants, I thought. Somehow, one survived on less than 4 inches of rain in the last 10 weeks and even produced a bloom, and I figured that it–as well as all of the other plants who have managed to survive this brutal summer–deserved to be acknowledged and appreciated.
Careful photography of the star plants and combinations is the order of the day when the garden as a whole is sad and crispy.
It’s common for yellows and golds to be abundant here this time of year. Yes, orange coneflowers (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) are common, but they can be dramatically wilted for days and still manage to put on a respectable show–particularly those that have planted themselves in shadier sites, or where they get shade from taller companions.
I’m very glad that I’d decided back in the spring to keep most of my experiments in the vegetable garden, so I can give them a bit of supplemental water when I’m trying to keep the edibles going. Some are meant for cutting; others I hope to collect seed from.
I did leave some room for vegetables in the vegetable garden. Unfortunately, the low fence, which does a reasonable job keeping the rabbits out, is no help with the voles and deer. Between them, those pests have pretty much destroyed the half-dozen bean varieties I was growing out, and they get a lot of the tomatoes before I can pick them. They haven’t (yet) touched the ‘Livingston’s Honor Bright’ (‘Lutescent’) tomatoes yet, though, or the hot peppers.
A few other beauties that are thriving with some supplemental water include…
Well, those are all lovely, but I’ve gotten distracted from my original point of celebrating the plants that are performing well without any help from me, despite the ridiculously inadequate amount of rainfall.
Well, that’s quite enough of traipsing around the garden in this heat. They boys are much smarter and spend most of these hot days under their favorite patch of cedars.
When I’m not obliged to be outdoors, I mostly retreat to my basement. While not as cool as it usually is this time of year, it’s more tolerable than the upper floors. I’ve been busy down there finishing a bunch of the botanical castings I made earlier in the season and making new ones this summer.
I’m working on getting some of these (and other) castings in my Etsy shop and preparing for upcoming on-site shows. First up is the Fall Festival at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA on October 22 (details on the event are available here).
For now, I’ll wish all of you a good rest-of-the-summer, with rain if you need it, dry days if you don’t, and tolerable temperatures for us all. For more late-summer gardens, check out the list of other participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.
I am passionate about collecting and growing seeds. In the links below, you can find out more about why I started my own one-person seed company and how it works. The library page is a collection of articles I’ve written on seed-related topics.