Garden Journal-July Heats Up

borage in bloom

“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.

heuchera, ajuga, hosta and torenia

“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!

 Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.






  1. Esther Montgomery says:

    Much happening!

    The world seems divided between those who do like borage and those who don’t. (I’m a ‘do’.)

    I’m a ‘don’t’ when it comes to hydrangeas – except in photos like the one you have here – when, suddenly, they become striking.


    • Donna says:

      I am new to borage and grew it for pollinators near my veg garden. So far I like it and hope it helps. I will have to start it sooner next year. I do love hydrangeas, but they can be temperamental…glad you enjoyed the post and picture!

  2. Sheila says:

    I am hiding from my garden. Every year I hope it will look better than it does in July but mid-90s and higher heat just takes a toll on plants …

    Turk’s cap lilies are gorgeous. Sorry about the voles. I actually saw a vole the other day tunneling through the pine straw. It seemed so blind and helpless. But they do a lot of damage!

    • Donna says:

      I do feel bad about the voles too when I chase them…if they just wouldn’t do so much damage. I try to hide but the weeds are taking over in so many areas I need to attend to them a little at a time. I also can assess where I need to move plants or replace with better performers. Stay cool….

  3. Julia@PolkaDotGaloshes says:

    Gorgeous lacecap Hy, mine are taking a huge beating this year, most are even to scared to bloom =( and those that have are now shriveled. Also, your veg garden is looking great, love the pic with in a pic. What program do you use for that cool trick. If any year our gardens have needed some extra luck its been this year, crossing my fingers yours continues to do beautifully…Cheers Julia

    • Donna says:

      Julia thx for your kind words…my hydrangeas mostly took a beating too…the program for the collages is the CollageMaker app for Macs…we do need a bit of luck this year with the weather extremes don’t we…

  4. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I like the furry borage and the fluffy seedheads in the meadow. My favourite photo in this post is of the butterfly bushes, I can feel the heat that you describe in that one.

    • Donna says:

      You can see the hot bright sum and humidity beating down on them for sure in that picture….boarage is an interesting plant…just getting to know it…so glad you enjoyed the pics and post!!

  5. andrea says:

    I’ve just heard of borage, i didn’t know it is that hairy but beautiful. Maybe it is delicious that it has to grow those hairs for protection. Your garden is growing healthily and your photos are great as well.

    • Donna says:

      Andrea thank you…yes I had not expected the fuzzy borage stems either…I hope the pollinators love it too…I plan to grow it again next year but start it indoors so it can actually flower sooner for the pollinators to help the veg garden…the garden is a bit healthier though dry…we did get some needed soaking rain for an hour that actually should help the garden a bit 🙂

  6. Bridget says:

    Beautiful plants, beautifully captured.I too love the Turk’s Cap Lilies and Hydrangea is an old cottage garden fave in Ireland.

    • Donna says:

      Bridget so happy to have you visit the garden…the cottage gardens in Ireland are beautiful as are the wildflowers you can see everywhere…so glad you enjoyed the post and pictures…

  7. Jean says:

    Donna, I too have many plants that are not living up to their usual performances. My delphinium didn’t do well at all this year, flowering sparsely instead of with huge spires of color. Some of my daylilies didn’t make flower scapes at all. Oh well, this is the nature of gardening; every year is different — so let’s hope for better next year.

    • Donna says:

      That’s my hope…I always know each year will bring something different. If I was good at keeping track I could see more patterns. Something I am working on 🙂

  8. PlantPostings says:

    I sort of remember you predicting the drought–in a post, right? I wish you hadn’t been right, too. But really I can’t complain because our unbearable weather only lasted about a week. And we should have rain tomorrow. Summer flies by too fast!

    • Donna says:

      You are so right that summer flies by so I am accepting the hot, humid, dry weather…we can bear it because we know what is ahead…

  9. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I have borage on my “must have next year” list, such beautiful flowers and so good for the pollinators. I love the sound of how your meadow is developing. Sorry about the humidity – miserable, no wonder even the tomatoes are sulking a little. That Phlox is beautiful.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet. I plan to write a post about how the meadow was conceived and why and of course how it looks through the seasons. I was sulking too with all the humidity, but we had a small break and you know it is summer here so we know the cold will be here soon enough!!

  10. Stacy says:

    Having it be both humid and dry is just plain wrong. You should only have to cope with one or the other at a time! It sounds like that weather pattern has eased up for you? Hope you’re getting some rain now. Even though your garden may not be proceeding according to plan this year, it still looks gorgeous from here! I do love the borage photo–who knew blue and hairy could be so attractive?

    • Donna says:

      We had a couple of storms that should help a bit. it was rather nasty having both a drought with hot, humid weather. I had never planted borage and didn’t know what to expect…the flowers were so cool when I saw them, that I had to snap many pics…who knew…..

  11. Christina says:

    Donna, I love your lilies! One is more spectacular than the other. Where to start? I have no idea if lilies will grow here for me in San Diego inland (read hot and dry climate), but you definitively inspired me to try them out. They are just too gorgeous to pass!

    • Donna says:

      Christina, so nice you have you visit…most lilies are hardy to zone 8 …..I am glad you enjoyed the few lilies that bloomed this year…they are addicting because they just pop up with magnificent flowers….

    • Donna says:

      Patrick so nice of you to visit the garden and I am so glad you enjoyed the visit…I am a bit hard on myself at times, and sometimes it takes other eyes to show you that things are actually coming along nicely..thx for your kind words…

    • Donna says:

      So happy you enjoyed your visit to the garden…the veggies have been slow with the drought, but they are yummy…come back to visit anytime!!

  12. Tootsie says:

    What a pretty post!!! Your photos are just lovely!
    Once again I am just loving the tour of all the gardens that have linked in to my little party! I am so excited to visit each and every post…they are all so inspiring and I am NEVER disappointed! The creative gardens and colorful displays that I am lucky to see are inspirations that I would never have found had I not found each of the gardeners I see online! Thank you so much for sharing your garden with my Friday Flaunt this week…I do hope you will link in again soon!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Comments are closed.