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July 2009

Looks like a bumblebee

High  83 F
Low   70 F
Current humidity 92%

During the recent visit from Jean and Jeff McWeeney, Jean and I spotted this interesting bee like creature attacking a Japanese beetle.  Jean writes her blog, Dig, Grow, Compost from Louisiana.  I have since learned that it is actually a robber fly, Genus Laphria.  It looks quite like a bumblebee but is in fact a robber fly.  I think I need more of these if they are going to prey on the Japanese beetles which have come out in abundance in the last few weeks.  I have never witnessed this insect activity before Jean and I spotted the goings on right on the leaves of the Tiger Eye Sumac.  Nature can be cruel but in this case, I am applauding!  On another note, the daylilies are in full force here at Ledge and Gardens and I am enjoying the display.DSC_0087   This is a favorite plant of bloggers and it is understandably so since the flowers come in such an array of sizes and colors.  It is truly summer here when the daylilies bloom in force.  Tucker is also enjoying the sights and smells of summer from atop his cool, ledge, perch.DSC_0088



The left handed mitten

High 77 F
Low  64 F
The left handed mitten garden is a bit out of control.  Most gardeners know that editing plants from a garden is as important as adding plants to a garden.  This year I neglected to remove the rogue bee balm which is taking over this bed.DSC_0035   While the effect is currently charming and the hummingbirds are fighting over the army of blooms, removal must take place this fall or this bed will lose some of its' interest.  A bed of one plant looks good just while the plant is in bloom and most perennials' bloom period is not usually more than a month and much more often it is shorter.   DSC_0080 The plan view of the bed shows just how much bee balm is blooming and it is a pretty variety, Raspberry wine, I think.  I often wonder what would happen to all the beds and borders if I left them to their own devices.  This will happen someday but, in the meantime, I hope to share the triumphs and troubles with my blogger friends.  I did get to share with Jean and Jeff from Louisiana. DSC_0060 They were driving home from Maine and I encouraged them to take a side trip to visit. (Jean says I made her stop.) Yankees are direct!  I met Jean, as many of you did, at Chicago Spring Fling and we had a great time touring the Chicago Botanic Gardens together.  I do appreciate the time it took for them to veer from the trail toward home and share stories and gardening with the EM and me this past weekend.  Jean blogs about her garden over at Dig, Plant, Compost and I always enjoy her posts.  Thanks to you both for visiting Ledge and Gardens.


Pool weekend...finally!

High 80 F
Low  65 F

Click on pictures to enlarge for better viewing


This past weekend was finally a pool weekend.  The sun came out on Saturday after a gray beginning and then the kids started to arrive.  Can you remember the fun you had as a kid at the local pond or pool?  Watch me, watch me is the classic line and Tucker is watching little Meena intently. DSC_0034 Even my new granddaughter, Hailey, had her first swim DSC_0021 although she appears a bit concerned with the whole situation even with her own personal lifeguard.  The garden surrounding the pool is blooming in spite of the lack of attention to the perennial border this year.  There seems never enough time or energy to get all the gardens in shape.DSC_0076   The vegetable garden is finally producing squash, broccoli,DSC_0071 lettuce and the beans are in bloom.  This bean (I will have to look up the name)DSC_0066 is as pretty in flower as the package suggested. I am enjoying the lettuce 'Merlot' planted under the walking stick kale which gives it the shade it needs during the longest days of the summer.  There are leeks interplanted also to maximize space and color impact. DSC_0002 The containers have filled out quite nicely DSC_0074 and today is the first day that I have had to water them given the rain we have had this year and the moderate temperatures.  What is better than a day at the pool with the kid's fashionably clad in lobster hats, laughing, swimming and eating strawberriesDSC_0030 while Tucker swims to his heart's content?DSC_0008


Bloom Day - July 15, 2009

High 75 F
Low  62 F
Well, those temperatures were for yesterday and as I sat to post I noticed the date and realized that I do have time to actually post a bloom day post hosted by Carol over at May Dreams.  No one is more surprised than I am by this early posting and this mornings' walk in the garden provided content.  Not only are there blooms on the squash plants but, finally, there are squash on the plant. They will be tomorrow night's dinner along with some broccoli.DSC_0046 Here are the blooms on the potatoesDSC_0009 which look like they are doing well.  I haven't grown them before and they are so lush I can't imagine being without them in the future.  The daylilies are bloomingDSC_0004 as are the monarda or bee balm which is attracting hummingbirds. DSC_0036 Fighting hummingbirds.  The dill has a limey green blossom DSC_0017 which smells even better than it looks.  Its' ferny presence in the garden is very welcome. The sweet peas are actually just starting to bloom.DSC_0022   Better late than never.  Annabelle DSC_0031 and Endless Summer hydrangeasDSC_0019 are blooming along with cimicifugaDSC_0051 and butterfly bush. DSC_0001 Sometimes the best blooms are not really blooms at all.  Here is a coleusDSC_0002 and some sedums in a container DSC_0005 and best of all the continuing bloom of friendship with Gail from Clay and Limestone and the men in her life.  DSC_0040 Tucker is not the only one who was very glad to see them.  Thank you for stopping by on Bloom Day at Ledge and Gardens.  


Through the garden gate

High and Low - Too soon to tell
I cannot remember the last July which started with such lushness in the garden and no brown patches in the lawn.  That is the positive when early summer is filled with gray skies and wet weather.  When the sun does come out it is appreciated much more than the routine days of a normal summer.  The view through the garden gate is just about perfect if you excuse the furniture.  I hope you enjoy it almost as much as I do.   


Gardens of Cornwall, Heligan

High 65 F
Low  60 F

Click on picture to enlarge for better viewing
Heligan is a 200 acre garden which is just a portion of the original thousand acres which were productive in the nineteenth century.  It was abandoned and restoration began in the early 1990's after the big hurricane of that same year.  This garden features woodlands, wetlands, and farmland in addition to manicured pleasure gardens but the hold it has on me is the walled vegetable garden which included fruit, flowers,DSC_0147 vegetables and all manner of garden tools and accessories.  The espaliered fruit trees lining the main walk were thick with fruit and I spoke with the Garden Supervisor, Nicola, concerning her pruning methods. DSC_0146 She shared her knowledge with enthusiasm.  I have espaliered apple trees but my pruning technique is reduced to whenever time allows so fruit production has been sacrificed.  I will have no excuses in the future.  The vegetable garden was quite large and I spotted these rhubarb forcing jarsDSC_0182 which another gardener told me were found and reclaimed when this garden was restored in the early 90's.  The cold frames are also to die for. DSC_0157 Check these out with the 'Beaver pane' glass and the way the glass just slides up and out of the way.  Time to pick these greens don't you think?  Full time gardeners ensure neat and tidy trellising and staking systems which create visual unity and functional beauty.  DSC_0150 Seeding is an ongoing task in this little glass houseDSC_0161 and the outbuildings are neat, tidy and right out of history with the cisternsDSC_0164 and cold frames and the tool shed.  DSC_0185 I spent a great deal of time in the vegetable garden area so I missed the woodland trail but this sundial garden is traditional and charming.DSC_0173   I sat on the bench at the top of the garden and watched the comings and goings of the visitors.  I enjoyed watching the guests and their individual approach to viewing this garden.  Some approached the sundial in the middle and others wandered the perimeter of the garden checking out plants and labels. DSC_0171 A bench in one's own garden is just an unused accessory but in the garden of someone else it becomes a useful perch, as it was intended, for viewing the garden and its' inhabitants.DSC_0170

  Is there a Victorian garden without a water feature? DSC_0142 This little garden sat adjacent to the upper fields providing a separate room to view and perhaps a reason to walk a bit of a distance from the main gardens.   I can only imagine how many gardeners were required to keep this estate running smoothly and looking pristine.  Heligan is purported to be one of England's favorite gardens.  I was privileged to have visited and am happy to share it with you.


High 66 F
Low  64 F   
The third week in June was soggy. In fact, the whole month of June, 2009 was soggy.  I thought I was being prepared for English weather.  English weather, at least in Cornwall which is noted for being dryer and sunnier than most of England, was not just sunny but hot and sunny.  What a welcome change.  The garden I left looks very much like the garden I came home to although the roses on the fence, New Dawn, are blooming and bedraggled.   As far as the gardens I visited on the way to Cornwall and in Cornwall let's just say they were humbling.  While there is no place like home, the gardens of England served a major portion of humble pie to this gardener.  I have always believed that each garden is a true expression of the gardener who tends it and the English gardens I visited did have full time gardeners and the private gardens were all tended by retired people. 
The first garden I saw was that at Mottisfont Abbey which lies between London and Cornwall in Hampshire.  The original building at Mottisfont was built in 1201 by Wiliam Briwere who had connections to Richard the Lionheart, King John, and Henry III.  It is difficult to comprehend 1201 isn't it?  And Richard the Lionheart?  Maybe he walked the very grounds I walked.  Time is fluid in such a place as Mottisfont.   The building has changed since the original structure was built but the Cellarium DSC_0114 stands original and was used as storage space for all manner of things.  I am sure it contained foodstuffs but what exactly?    It has an ancient beauty don't you think?  DSC_0107

This is a beautiful propertyDSC_0049 but nothing prepares one for the assault on the senses, both visual and olfactory, upon entering the walled garden.  Here, in a space of a few thousand square feet, roses and perennials bloom profusely and fragrantly. DSC_0081 There are both grass and gravel paths and the gravel paths have a satisfactory crunch under foot . DSC_0084 The perfume of roses fills the air.  There are roses and clematis trained on the walls and they share a companionable and complementary vertical space.DSC_0090

There are wonderful perennials in this garden many of which I can grow but haven't done so yet.  The Papaver somniferum is the most beautiful poppy I think I have ever seen.DSC_0071 It comes in an array of colorsDSC_0091 with very gray foliage.  The Campanula lactiflora is another plant seen quite often in English gardens but I rarely can find it in the garden centers.DSC_0100   Here it is over six feet tall and makes quite a statement in the garden.  The exhuberant profusion of these gardens is enough to convince a gardener to work a bit harder and pay closer attention to color combinations if she can extricate herself from the fetal position that is.DSC_0085

Is there an estate of this size without a parterre?   DSC_0121 The formality of this parterre fits in well with the stately design of the building.  I will not be adding a parterre to my garden but I can appreciate its' form and linear stability. DSC_0113 I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Mottisfont and recommend it to any who visit our friends across the pond.  It is always enlightening to visit other gardens and from this one, I gained an appreciation for vertical elements and well used space.  The scent of the rose garden will not soon be forgotten.