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September 2009

August 2009

Impatiens balsamina - Touch-me-not

High 78 F

Low  62 F


There are few perennials blooming in my borders in August and early September.  The asters are not yet coloring up and the daylilies are looking bedraggled and need some grooming.  The few annuals I planted are providing much needed color although the lack of moisture is going to soon take its' toll on them.  I have one astilbe which is dried up to crinkly brown foliage and the other perennials are starting to suffer.  This spring I started some annual old fashioned impatiens, Impatiens balsamina, for the border. DSC_0025 This is not an annual I have planted before this season but it is one that a friend recommended to me many years ago.  You know, that tidbit of information which lies dormant until something, in this case seeing a bed of colorful Impatiens balsamina, triggers the memory.  I. balsamina, or Touch-Me-Not,  came into favor during  the Victorian era.  It is native to India and Southeast Asia.   DSC_0027 It was widely planted in this country only after World War II according to Burpee's information.  I don't often see it in gardens but I have found after just one season that it is worth planting.  The pastel flower colors blend well together in the border and it grows to 24" tall.  It flowers in a good amount of shade although it is listed as growing well in full sun if the soil is rich and moist.


I could have planted it a bit better.  A larger grouping would make more of a statement.  Experience is a great teacher and I will do better with it next year.   Has anyone else grown this pretty annual and, if so, what are your thoughts?


Dog days

High 91 F

Low  72 F


There really has been some doubt in New Englander's minds concerning summer and when and if it would arrive.  It has.  The Tiger Eye Sumac in bright yellow is making the garden seem much hotter with the blue sky providing only visual relief.  The humidity is uncomfortably high but the garden critters, cicadas, crickets and other night creatures seem to love it.  I have actually had to water the containers and the vegetable garden these past few days. DSC_0004 Watering the garden required finding the sprinkler head which took the better part of an hour.  Some gardeners just don't put things in the same place each time.  This gardener put the sprinkler head right under the faucet but it somehow escaped notice until the fourth pass.  Then, there was the monumental effort of uncoiling the hose which had been used so long ago that it was trapped by a few weeds.  All this occurred in the early hours of the morning and definitely counted as a weight lifting and aerobic workout.  Once these chores were finished the camera came out to see what the lens would find.  It was so warm that it fogged and the humidity levels are not only felt but seen in this shot of these late blooming daylilies. DSC_0019 Thankfully, there is a blessed pool to cool the mind and the body. The camera sat this one out.DSC_0041 This is the view through the back gate.  The umbrella has seen better days but the water is inviting. Care  to come on over and cool off with me and Tucker?  It is always just a quick dip but it does do the trick.  



High 78 F

Low  63 F


A walk to the back field revealed the bright yellow blooms of the Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, which gets little respect from many in spite of its' fine form and color.  It is native to North America and it is a member of the Asteraceae family. DSC_0020 The nursery trade does offer cultivars which have a bit different flower structure or are more compact such as 'Little Lemon', 'Golden Fleece' and 'Fireworks'. These do fit a bit better into the foreground of the garden.  The native goldenrod is standing tall this year, about eye level which makes it close to six feet tall.  I don't look forward to the bloom of the goldenrod only because it signals the end of summer and summer didn't seem to arrive here this year. It has been wet, gray and gloomy for a good part of this summer. The yellow of goldenrod is clear and bright with no orange in it.  It would combine well with Monkshood, liatris, or balloon flowers.  The bees love it, Tucker loves to roam through it in the field, andDSC_0025 it is drought tolerant and resiliant.  The layered flower stems are quite interesting when viewed at eye level.  The strap like leaves are neat and tidy and show no insect damage.  If this plant were finicky or hard to find I think it would be well sought after.DSC_0019  I am appreciating the ''commonness'  of this perennial.  Do you have any goldenrod in your garden or neighborhood or is this a plant just too common for any attention? 


Garden whites

High 93 F

Low  68 F

Humidity- Sweat is a way of life today.


Several years ago I was fortunate enough to visit  Sissinghurst.   I fell in love with the White Garden.  It was as enchanting as the first glimpse of a bride on her wedding day.  Pure, crisp, airy and serenely elegant.    A white garden is luminous at night.   White lights up a shady spot and is gentle on the eye even during the brightest of summer days. I find that white serves to enhance other colors such as making red much redder.   I may actually have a white garden here although it was not purposefully planned.  The back border is planted with Hydrangea p. 'Limelight', Hydrangea paniculata, and Aesculus parviflora.  They are all blooming and the 'Limelight' is  getting whiter by the day as it tends to do.  This back area is not really a garden, more of a shrub border but I can see a bit more white perhaps in the form of Hosta 'Patriot' or Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata' which is probably a better choice due to its' deer resistance. 


There are other whites in the garden, this annual nicotiana has the purest of white flowers.  The lush leaves DSC_0009 give a tropical feel to the front garden and while they take a while to reach the flowering stage, their ultimate stature make them worth the wait.   Other whites include the gooseneck loosestrife of the previous post, cimicifuga, garden phlox and this  campanulaDSC_0015 to name but a few.  I think white adds vibrancy to a garden.  What about you?  How do you feel about white in your garden? 


Goose crossing

High 78 F

Low  64 F


There are  perennials which can take over a garden.  Different parts of the country all have their own specific garden thugs and even the different garden beds here have their particular bullies.  The long border faces north and has well drained but moist soil through June.  July is generally dry here but not this year and I am applauding my decision to remove the Lysimachia clethroides, gooseneck loosestrife, from this bed.  In dryer areas, such as the back garden, it just marches along providing a curious spot of white in the garden.  These really are goose lookalikes don't you think? DSC_0008 They always make me stop and  pause and kids love them.  I think they are worth putting in an area that is not ideal for them.  If you give them the moist soil and full sun that they love, they will take over.  If you put them in a dryer area they may do just fine but not spread like a gaggle of pesky geese on the football field.  They have very strong roots which might just handle a heavy clay soil.  I'd like to hear about that trial so, Gail, how about it?  I'll send you some.  So, what is the most invasive perennial in your garden?


Summer garden maintenance

The new watergarden bed-Installation, October '08

Sometime in late July or early August the garden beds need a tune up.  The ongoing weeding just doesn't do the trick anymore as the edges of the bed blur with the repeated exposure to wind, rain, mower blades and animal traffic.  It is time to get out the edger and redefine the garden bed.  There are few tasks as gratifying as this one.  When the bed is finished, it is so satisfying to see the crisp new edge and pristine soil or mulch.  This bed was produced with the 'Lasagne Method' of gardening.  I cut a strip of grass from the edge and then layered newspaper on the inside towards the pond and covered that with compost and mulch. DSC_0005 The holly bushes and Amsonia were added at this time  as was the Ed Hirle Alberta Spruce on the right edge.  Heuchera 'Caramel' was added and perennial geraniums, 'Claridge Druce', for summer interest. DSC_0001 One of the geraniums needs to be moved as it is in the middle of two of the heuchera and they are a bit shorter.  I did add two metal tutuers and a container to add temporary interest to this bed. DSC_0003 The tutuers hold sweet peas which are bloomingDSC_0009

and the container adds a spark of color.    This bed helps direct traffic (not that there is much) to the bench area.  Sometimes children like to stand on the rocks edging the pool and they are not very sturdy so this is somewhat of a safety issue but in the future, when the holly gets large, this bed will provide a bit of privacy for sitting on the bench and watching the fish swim.DSC_0006 The large grasses on the right were part of the original planting. DSC_0007 The bench is a good place for a morning cup of coffee watching the fish and frogs and listening to the birds. DSC_0008This fall I am going to divide some daylilies and add them to the foreground of this bed.  More bulbs will also be added.  A garden is an evolutionary experience isn't it?