Good old Summertime

Westie in July with red ballIt’s really not miserably hot at all here in Western Oregon, but it’s summer at last, the rain is gone, and it’s the Dog Days time of year.

So I consulted Max.

“You suppose,” I said to him, “there is anything to camera out here?” (He likes camera as a verb.)

He looked encouraging. Or maybe he just wanted me to throw his orange ball again…

We wandered the gardens, and there were some tipping stems and dead blooms, a little sense of past-it’s-prime-ness, but we found some nice flowers coming, some of my favorites actually.

(Max is usually right about things, but especially during the Dog Days.)

pink fuchsia

This pink perennial fuchsia, so ghostly and graceful, now seems to me the same as I saw at The wind and the wellies blog, growing in Scotland. I commented there that mine was pinker but now I think that isn’t so. The new blooms are almost white, with just a teeny hint of pink/lavender pastel.

I love this fuchsia and grow it from cuttings, which is how I came by the first one too, and one of the many reasons why I don’t know it’s name, but you can call it Ghost or Phyllis or whatever you like.

blue bells plantThese plants have been blooming for weeks and just continue. They are often called Bluebells-of-Scotland (Campanula rotundifolia), a perennial I grew from seed last year. They grow readily in most any location and bloom on and on.

bluebells closeupThey look like other bellflowers only smaller, with leaves at the base and tall stems with flowers. And the stems are best where they can weave through other plants so that the little blooms sort of emerge and are supported everywhere, otherwise the stems develop over-gravitization, a common condition which often results in complete horizontality.

costmary flowersNow here’s something.  This little bunch of daisies is at the end of a tall stem of the Costmary plant. (No it is not in jail that is the picket-fence behind it.) The leaves stay at ground level and are just amazing.

costmary leavesOf course the Costmary leaves don’t look amazing, they look flat and leafy, but if I could ever get the Fragrance Widget for this blog then you could experience the strange and wonderful scent of the leaves, sort of medicinal, pungent, very exotic, and retained even when the leaves are dried.  (I need a beer Widget too, just in case you come across one…)

Costmary (Tanacetum balsamita, or Chrysanthemum balsamita) is an ancient herb. One of its big uses historically is as bookmarks in Bibles to keep you awake like smelling salts during long sermons. I don’t listen to long sermons but I like pressing the leaves in books anyway.

balloon flower budThis truly is of my favorites. It’s a balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), a cool perennial that I grew from seed. That seed part I remember being a challenge, and it produced only two plants that took a couple of years to mature and flower.  Since then I have started another one from a cutting so now there are three together. They get tall and need support, so I crowd them into an overplanted border. (Someone needs to find the “stand-up-straight” gene for plants and add it to seeds.)

balloon flower open

I thought the balloon flowers were white– really I am quite certain they used to bloom snow white– but this year they have interesting blue veining so I think they are aspiring to blue.

morning glory on power boxIn conclusion we have the memorable outcome of my attempt to hide the electrical box with a morning glory vine. Nice try.  (I may paint leaves on the power box for next year.)

All right then. Just remember, these are the Dog Days, at least in some parts of the world. Forget any negative connotations and do something nice for your dog– he loves you.


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in actual plants, Max the Westie and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Good old Summertime

  1. The beer widget sounds like a great idea! Don’t you just love popping those ballon flowers open- so tempting…

    • linniew says:

      When I find the beer widget I will forward you the code immediately Chris. But in the meantime you stay away from my balloon flower blooms! (Really I had never been tempted to pop them—until now.)

  2. Grace says:

    I much prefer western Oregon’s dog days to those of, say, the south, don’t you? Although I’m beginning to think I can kiss any hint of ripened tomatoes goodbye. I’m impressed with your seed-starting and cutting-rooting capabilities. Nice job!

  3. Roberta says:

    I love the daisy felons, the little criminals! And Max makes a very good consultant.

  4. Angie Case says:

    Your pictures are wonderful Linnie and you are wise to listen to dear Max. Give him loves for me please! I have a morning glory that same color that is a volunteer. Most of gardening seems to be happy accidents. Enjoy your Dog Days 🙂

  5. A beautiful study in white, with a purple bottom! I did wonder if the electrical box might need to be opened at some point?! Jane Gray

    • linniew says:

      Oh Jane, I am certain you are right. If I didn’t expect some official power company person to march up at any moment and demand to open the box, well then I might use some chicken wire and cement and make it into say, a standing stone, something I actually need.

  6. kininvie says:

    Glad to see the bluebells of Scotland….

  7. Sheila says:

    Cherry tomatoes are pretty much all I have going on in the garden these dog days. I’ll trade you a few for some cool weather and blossoms that don’t wilt …

  8. Linnie, Max is tooo cute!!
    Love the bellflowers and the fuchsia! And the morning glory is stunning!

  9. Hi Linnie – call it what you will but think your fuchsia is ”Mrs W. P. Wood”. A mute pink magellanica. Since the man needs to get in the box would put a container climber there (with one of your artisitc bamboo trellis supports) and get him to move it when needs must. An evergreen clematis or jasmine might do the trick but ask Max, he seems to know best

    • linniew says:

      Thank you Laura for considering this big garden problem I have with the not-cute electrical box which is in mostly shade. A jasmine might do there (I love them) but perhaps would need more sun— I will research shady clematis since this IS my Year of the Clematis. An annual vine was a last minute measure (the box is new)–your suggestions for something perennial are appreciated. I’d like something better underway for next spring. Oh this gardening, takes constant planning!

      “Megellanica” is a wonderful word I hadn’t met before, seems to refer to all those hardy shrubby fuchsias. And I looked up Mrs. WP Wood. My plant may be that or else there is another one more white, but sometimes it’s described as totally white, called Hawkshead fuchsia. Mine is pinky but not too…I expect they vary.

  10. Alberto says:

    Linnie, what are exactly the Dog Days? Mina yesterday celebrated her dog day with a bath on the lime container. We had some dread/panic moments saving and rinsing her. Happy ending thanks God and she’s never been so white too…

    I love the campanula and your ferns too, looking forward to having ferns like your under trees if they grow.

    • linniew says:

      Poor Mina! Lime is awful! It is well you were there to rescue her and clean her up. Please give her a hug for me, poor puppy.

      There are all sorts of Greek and other histories about the Dog Days idea. It has to do with the Dog Star (Sirius) being visible, and the very hot, still weather that can come at the end of summer (mid July through August approx). Unfortunately a large part of the eastern US has had that weather all summer this year!

      The ferns behind the bluebells are called Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant), native to this area. Ferns are one of serious weaknesses.

      • Alberto says:

        I only now looked on Wikipedia, I thought dog days was one of the ‘silly’/funny things you make up for us… Poor me I had never heard of it before!

        Don’t worry for Mina, she had plenty of cuddles yesterday until I chilled out from the fright. Think that all happened because of a freaky lizard!

        I must have a thing for ferns, I really like them. I need more shadow though, otherwise the sun burn them as they spring up.

        • linniew says:

          You think I make things up? Really Alberto, when I try so hard to be utterly accurate and factual here?

          Maybe you could make a fern bed on the north side of your house, there must be some shade….

  11. Alberto says:

    Assuming a talking furry terrier has been taken as a fact, yes you are utterly accurate and factual.
    (a fern on the north side of the house would last longer… until midday at least)

  12. b-a-g says:

    Linnie – It seems that all weeds already have the “stand-up” gene.

  13. Ca says:

    I love the delicacy of your plants and your affection for them. Lovely how plants and flowers store our memories too. Max is a cutie:~)

    • linniew says:

      I do tend toward tiny flowers that fall all over. This must mean something. I would like to develop a system of reading garden choices, like palm reading or maybe handwriting analysis. Should be possible.

      Max wishes he could go for a walk with you down your lane…

  14. I really like the vine for your utility box…excellent idea! …and so pretty…

    • linniew says:

      I guess just a bit more trellis material was in order. (I used one piece of twine…)
      I think I’ll go next with Laura’s idea about a clematis.

  15. bumblelush says:

    I’ve never seen balloon flowers. They’re very pretty, and I love the contrast of the daisies against the fence (not jail) 🙂
    And Max is SO cute!

    • linniew says:

      Welcome Bumble Lush! I would think balloon flowers might do ok in your container garden. They don’t seem to become enormous plants like so many perennials do. (Max send regards to Pickles and Cleo.)

  16. Cathy says:

    Linnie, those pale blue balloon flowers and that perennial fuschia have me salivating with envy! I love your summer garden gems!

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