hot shots

If you have a minute today could you please call Weather Maintenance? I need this heat to go away just as soon as the last down comforter gets dry. Rain would be nice then. Even cool rain would be okay since the blankets will be ready to use.

feathers dryingYou are supposed to wash these feathery ones in giant commercial machines but I don’t always do what I’m supposed to do and really this is a very small infraction compared to some so I’m not worrying about it too much. I just stuff them into the washing machine and then give them a few trips in the dryer and it’s off to sun and wind. And you can see by the grass that we have lots of sun and wind.

We’ve had day after day of 90-100 F. The attic fan was replaced and I had to actually sew exterior removable curtains to block the late morning sun from coming in through the sidelights by the front door.

sidelight curtains

Before that I taped brown paper on the outside but it kept falling off.  The curtains will go away when the weather cools. I miss the view outside…

You may remember my kiwi discussion from last August.

kiwi vine

Well this spring there was yet another murder, a revenge killing I think, wherein the male kiwi was disposed of by his second wife. We replaced him and the current couple seems terribly happy so that I wonder if they had this all planned and there was maybe a life insurance policy or something involved, like happens on Mystery.

The next picture shows the kiwi neighborhood. The guilty girl kiwi grows in that deep but bottomless well-drained not root-rotting pot in the middle of the image, and the grape vine trellis runs perpendicular to the kiwi arbor.

I like garden rooms.


In other news, I grew some asters from “mixed seed” which is sort of like going shopping and buying things with your eyes closed.

mixed up seeds

Anyway the seed packet didn’t lie, it was certainly an assortment, and the outcomes seem to be distant cousins.

I like this pink one, and it keeps forever as a cut flower.

pink Chinese aster

I will save some seeds and hope they don’t turn out more like this purple version.

purple Chinese aster

I guess I kind of like the purple as well. Maybe I’ll save its seeds too. But I have not bonded with this next one.

Chinese aster pink button

See those pinky button-looking blooms? And how would anyone know those plants were wearing pink to the same party where the coneflowers wore orange? Actually I don’t mind that at all, but they are such buttony little flowers. Not collecting seeds there.

I like the salvia in the next image. It’s all one plant, new this summer. I know you recognize it so I won’t bore you with the name. It’s great friends with its neighbor, the anise hyssop “Apricot Sunrise.”

salvia and hyssop

Here’s my dreamy image for this week, which Tammy taught me how to do. It’s of the mimosa tree, which it turns out is absolute last waking up in spring and then grows all summer long, adding feet and feet, and is first to drop leaves in the fall.

mimosa treeOnly two blooms this year so it’s not invasive yet…

Okay please let me know when the Weather repairs begin.

In the meantime take it easy…

Westie on his pillow

And keep cool.




Posted in actual plants, Max the Westie, my 19th century house | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Garden real estate

And so the train has pulled up to August.

It’s a hot place.

farm field AugustMax and I took a walk up the lane on an early, hazy morning.

oak in August field

The clay ground has gone hard. It’s been hot forever and there are forest fires in the state so maybe that contributes to hazy skies.

I keep watering the vegetables and flowers and so far things are doing okay except for the ones that wilt every single day no matter what.

wilted viburnumThe image above is a double-file Viburnum (V. plicatum tormentosum “Maresii”). They are said to desire full sun to part shade but that appears to be a lie. This plant is well mulched and gets about two hours of afternoon sun and I water it daily and still it wilts each and every afternoon and I think I hear it making moaning sounds too but I’m not sure. (This may be the “tormentosum” part.)

I do love these shrubs when they bloom and are happy so I have managed to propagate several of them. But now I find they only like morning sun and really if I ever build a house I’m going to make it long and skinny and just garden on the east side. (See the helpful and expensive professional landscape-architect’s visual aid below.)


Which is to hint to you that my best gardening success, at least in August, occurs on the east side of the house.

crocosmia bed

Here for example is where I grow many of Francine’s favorite flowers, like the infamous crocosmia above, and as you know Francine is an extremely discerning hummingbird. (Yes Francine has returned to the garden here but so far she has not posed for any pictures.––something about paparazzi and getting a lawyer so I’m leaving her some space.)

Delphinium belladonna

The Delpinium belladonna moved to the Desirable East Side this spring, coming from a rundown tenement in the south. (That interesting foggy effect  in the image just chose to happen. I don’t know how to do it intentionally.)

Verbena bonariensis

I had tried growing Verbena bonariensis (above) in two other locations in two other years but it was a hopeless disappointment until it got to the head of the line for space with morning sun and now it’s all blooms and butterflies and I am seduced––it will be grown always.

In other news, you may recall that I have on occasion been sunflower challenged and I just wanted you to know that this year I had some success.

sunflower past its prime

Although my sunflower looked better earlier…

I have a volunteer in the vegetable garden.

tiny melons

It is either a furry hand grenade (unlikely I suppose) or some kind of tiny beginning of a melon. I am hoping for cantaloupe although the stripes are suggestive of watermelon. These little fruitettes are growing fast but maybe not as quickly as the earth is moving us toward winter––it will be a race so let me know if you want to place bets.

Max on the porch

Max agrees with the plants that the morning sun is just the best.

Posted in actual gardens, actual plants, birds, Max the Westie | Tagged , | 27 Comments