“If the first of July be rainy weather,
It will rain, more or less, for four weeks together.”
– John Ray, English Proverbs
Had I but known this proverb, I would have be prepared for the drought we are having. OK I did predict this. Back in spring when it was cold and flooding rains were falling, I said we would have a hot, humid, dry summer. Boy I hate when I’m right. One good thing about this dry weather is there are hardly any mosquitoes.
I was out for another round of weeding in the dust this weekend, but the humidity did me in after a half hour. Our humidity is the same as the temperature. Eighty degrees, eighty percent humidity or higher. You get the picture….I need to get out no later than 7 am to weed for a few hours. Oh well, there is always next weekend. So instead it’s time to wander the garden to see what is going on. Not as much as I would have liked, but we still have blooms. In July my tomatoes should be growing like crazy, and the lilies should be tall and fragrant…not this year.
In spring this veggie bed held garlic, lettuce, spinach, radishes and arugula. As the summer heated up it was replanted. You can see beans in the foreground. They are finally producing a few yellow or wax beans. Carrots are growing and I thinned out a few. I never peel them. Just wash off the dirt and crunch on them. The sweet taste of a just picked carrot is amazing. I have one Early Girl tomato ripening in a pot. If I can keep the blight at bay we may get a few tomatoes and a bunch of cherry tomatoes.
Not like last year. In the bed pictured here, I had 4 huge tomato plants that produced tomatoes right up until frost. Of course we had weekly rainstorms to keep everything growing and lush. Now 2 of last year’s tomatoes have seeded themselves in this bed. One in the middle of the bed that is already producing cherry tomatoes, and one in amongst the beans- possibly Early Girl. Hopefully they will be blight free. Summer lettuces, scallions and beets are growing slowly as well here. In the other bed is the eggplant. You can see the one we have growing at the top of the picture. I’ll take it…my first try at eggplant. The majority of tomatoes (heirloom) are growing with the eggplant. The squash blossom is actually a pumpkin. I have loads of pumpkin flowers and am just hoping for a few fruit.
Right now in the meadow the echinacea are making a small showing. As we weed out more invasive plants, we will be adding more echinacea, blanket flower, coreopsis, helenium, liatris, yarrow, Obedient plant and Joe Pye. Most will come from seed, but the Joe Pye and Obedient plant will come from the garden. Both are seeded around or growing in large clumps that need to be thinned. They will enjoy the abandon of the meadow more than the constraints in the garden.
In July I should be seeing and smelling an abundance of lilies blooming in the garden. Oriental, Asiatic, Orienpet Hybrids, Trumpet and Tree lilies. This year they have made a small showing. Many that were newly planted in the fall have either not shown or were half their size. Others who were more established blossomed. Here are a few brave souls that fared well.
This is a trumpet lily that was a free gift when I was planting my garden 5 years ago. They can grow to 8 feet some years towering over and through the butterfly bushes where they are inter-planted. This year they made it to barely 5 feet tall. But they are gorgeous.
A new Asiatic lily ‘Eyeliner’. It makes a stunning 3-4 foot statement in the part shade section out back. I love the purple brown line around the outside of the petals.
I am fairly certain this is an Oreinpet Hybrid, ‘Leslie Woodriff’. This is a stunning lily that comes up in the hot front garden bed amongst the hydrangeas. I love how the petals curl back.
I love begonias for my front porch up against the house. They are in shade all day except for late afternoon.
Butterfly bushes or Buddleias are sparse this summer. I really believe it is because it was so cold and wet late into spring. They do fine in dry hot weather if they get a good spring. I have 5 different colors of pink and purple growing. This year the Baptisia (a native plant) is taller than the Buddleias.
One of my favorite natives is the Turk’s Cap lily. This is the only one left that the voles didn’t get. I plan to plant more in hopes of having a big showing of these exotic looking blooms. This one is planted near a native Northern Sea Oats grass off the patio. I will plant these again in the moist to wet soil in my gardens.
The hydrangeas have taken a beating. Once ‘Endless Summer’ bloomed their hearts out, all the others except a few have curled up and browned. This lacecap variety is on the West side of the house where it gets lots of morning shade. Usually the deer forage on this plant, but this year I beat them to it and sprayed it so they would stay away.
Many gardeners have posted about their phlox either blooming and dying, wilting or not blooming. Many that were in the sun, have faded. This phlox, ‘Junior Dance’, is a beautiful coral color that is shorter than many. It also blooms in the high heat of summer and so far has had no mildew issues. I have it in many spots in the garden from full sun to part shade. This one is lighting up a shady area.
Yes they are back. Our robin parents have built another nest. This one is hard to see and photograph. It is more to the center of the tree and well camouflaged. There are 3-4 eggs there, but she rarely leaves the nest for us to get a good enough look. You can see her returning from her breakfast to spend another hot day on the nest. I found a great spot from the porch where I can see momma a bit clearer. It has been so hot, I worry about her. But apparently the shade helps from the tree and she cools down through her mouth. We are trying to not get too hopeful and we are staying away. If they are successful, we should hear some peeping in less than a week.
I found this wonderful poem that sums up how my garden and I have been feeling this July.
“In lang, lang days o’ simmer,
When the clear and cloudless sky
Refuses ae weep drap o’ rain
To Nature parched and dry,
The genial night, wi’ balmy breath,
Gars verdue, spring anew,
An’ ilka blade o’ grass
Keps its ain drap o’ dew.”
– James Ballantine
Special Note: All flowers and critters pictured here are from my garden. Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time this Friday where she hosts Fertilizer Friday. I’ll be flaunting mine.
Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles. A new post should be coming soon!
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