Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Gardening

 It would seem that Summer is starting tomorrow.  After four or so days of cooler temps and lots of rain, temperatures are jumping up from mid 80's today to high 90's tomorrow.  The next four days will be over 100 F.  Not my idea of fun at all.

After two days of frequent rain the garden is doing well.  This afternoon I went out to the veg garden and pulled up a whole pile of weeds by hand.  The ground was nicely softened up, so they came out easily, roots and all.  There's still some left, but a large area is mostly cleared now, and I can see where the raspberries are again.  I'll have to dig over the empty ground, but I'm not sure I want to do it in the coming heat.  I guess if I go out early enough it might not be so bad.  We'll see.  The raspberries look a little behind this year, but they're coming on well.  The canes are only about 3-4 feet tall, but I already have one pink raspberry showing.  I'll have to get out there to stake them and put up the bird netting pretty soon.

I've been filling in the empty spaces in the new area of the future cottage garden.  It's kind of a wedge shape following the edge of a future spiral path to the center, so for now I call it the triangle garden.  Anyway, it's doing pretty well.  This is the 'Terracotta' yarrow, and a nepeta.  The nepeta's flowers are bluer than this photo.  That blue-purple color just doesn't show up well in photos.  The iris are probably doing a bit too well.  I need to dig them out and re-plant them more sparsely, but it's such a big job.  I've been putting it off.

The plants I put into the newer section I cleared last May almost all survived.  I think I lost the dark-leaved Aster horizontalis over the winter.  The rose 'Strike It Rich' only has one surviving stem growing out of the root ball.  But it's doing ok and has a good number of blooms.  Probably needs feeding.  The weigela florida almost didn't make it. I thought it was dead this Spring, but then a few leaves sprouted from the bottom.  It's still just a little bunch of variegated leaves, but it's alive.  Guess we'll see how it does this year.  I need to keep it watered!  The purple sedum, geranium 'Phillippe Vappelle', geranium sanguineum, and the shrub (can't remember the name just now) are all fine.

This year I've put in a white campanula, a dark-flowered Brown-eyed Susan, two pink-flowered Snow in Summer, creeping dianthus, geranium biokovo with dark pink flowers, lavender 'Hidcote', two penstemons, agastache 'Apricot Sprite, a late-blooming aster, and the coolest looking sedum I've seen for a while, sedum sieboldii 'October Daphne'.  It forms a mound of pale green leaves with pink edges, and has pink flowers in late summer.  I already had some early summer blooming things in there, so the later-flowering agastache and sedum seemed like a good idea.

In the side garden across the drive I had a volunteer echinacea that self-seeded into the gravel walk from the echinacea 'Magnus' that used to be in the bed.  Last year when the Magnus died (they don't seem to last long) I moved the volunteer into the empty space.  It did very well this season and got a lot of flower buds.  But when they started to "open" the flowers didn't have any petals, just the fluffy brown centers.  So I dug that out, put in some new dirt, and planted echinacea 'Baby White Angel', a lower-growing white variety.  I hope it will do well, and won't shade out the veronica in back of it.  I also put in a new aquilegia I found at D&B.  The leaves are greyish-green on red stems.  The flowers are supposed to be red and yellow.  It may not flower this year, but it seems to be growing well and putting up new leaves.

So far this season the watering has not been a big chore, but it will start getting harder now the weather is getting hotter.  I bought a soaker hose for the new part of the triangle, but haven't put it out yet.  Need to do that.  At least we've got most of the sprinklers working.  Still having a problem with the ones in the side garden, so I have to water those plants with a hose for now.
I have some photos of the new plants that need uploading, so watch this space...

Ken and I are still calorie counting with Lose It!  He's lost 35 lbs so far, and looks great!  I've lost 15.  But in visiting our doctors we found out our bathroom scale is 5-6 lbs light.  I've lost the pounds, but I'm not down to the weight I thought I was.  So I'll keep going for another five pounds or so.  It's getting a bit harder to stick to my calorie allowance as it goes down, but I'm developing the habit of controlling portion size.  I'm hopeful I can stick with it.  It's so different from when I was younger and exercised every day.  I could eat nearly anything and not really gain.  But I'm feeling good and am much happier with my reduced size.  I'd prefer not to go back.