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Monday, August 18, 2014

Dr Hortfreud: On Mowing in the Rain

Hello, Carol

Hi, Dr. Hortfreud. It's been awhile, hasn't it?

Yes, Carol, but I sense you need a session with me now.

Oh, yes, I do. Always.

Well, it looks like rain, so why don't we meet in the sun room around the house plants.

Oh no, Dr. Hortfreud, I would like to have a mowing session with you. Besides, if you look to the west, it's sunny out.

But if you look to the east, Carol, it's all cloudy and looks like it might rain.

I want to go for it, Dr. Hortfreud.

If you must, Carol, but we really do need to talk about this mowing obsession you have.

I have a FitBit now and I have to get in steps.

Carol, it's raining now. Surely you can get your steps in some other way.

But now it's not about the steps, I don't want to leave the lawn half cut.

Carol, it's raining.

But there's no thunder, Dr. H.

Carol, it's raining.

So you said, Dr. H, but it is still sunny to the west and look, there's a rainbow to the  east.

Carol, it's raining. What will the neighbors think?

Dr. H. you told me before to be my own gardener. Besides, I'm in the back behind the fence and its raining so the neighbors are probably all inside and don't realize I've become the crazy gardener who mows in the rain.

Well, Carol, it's a good sign you recognize that it is crazy to mow in the rain.

Hey, look, Dr. H. It's stopped raining.

So it has Carol, but you've still become the crazy gardener who mows in the rain. Congratulations.

Thanks, Dr. H. I'll wear my new title proudly.

And with that, Dr. Hortfreud buried her head in her hands and began to wonder what she had gotten herself into taking Carol on as her patient.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2014

Clematis 'Rooguchi' with Lamb's Ear Leaves
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for August 2014.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in Indiana, I am thrilled with this summer we've been having.

I don't mean to brag or make anyone with weather woes cry or gnash their teeth or throw down their own gardening hoe in disgust, but this has been one of the nicest summers in my memory.

We've had rain when we needed it, for the most part, and I can't remember any particular days or stretches of days when it was too hot.  In fact, out in the vegetable garden, I think the peppers would like it to be a bit hotter and drier. But the rest of the garden isn't complaining.

Really, it's been a good growing season. I barely remember our record breaking terrible winter.

Now, I could give you a twirl around the entire garden, starting with the Clematis 'Rooguchi' still blooming as it runs at ground level across one section of Plopper's Field.  See how 'Rooguchi' is completely ignoring the support I am attempting to provide it?

Oh well, I'd rather have 'Rooguchi' running through the garden at ground level than have no 'Rooguchi' at all.

You can quote me on that!

Yes, I could give you a twirl through the entire garden but I'm going to just focus on the garden border I call August Dreams Garden.  We'll see the other flowers another day.

August Dreams Garden is a flower border designed and planted to be at the height of bloom in late summer.   It's coming along nicely after being planted back in 2011.

This is what I see in August Dreams Garden when I come out the back door in the evening to decompress from the day's activities.

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, is in full bloom. If you look just above its flowers, you can see the purple mop heads of Joe Pye Weed, Eutrochium purpureum 'Little Joe' (formerly Eupatorium).  And at the far end, you can just make out the yellow flowers of some very tall Rudbeckia, species unknown, though it might be Rudbeckia maxima

If you walk around to the other side of the garden, the path side, you'll see touches of white from Tall Phlox, Phlox paniculata 'David'.

The big yellow flowers are cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It has large leaves and can be a bit of a "my garden, I'm taking over" flower, so I hear.  I shall soon be deadheading it to make sure it doesn't go to seed. 

The sculpture in this garden, from Girly Steel, is barely visible this time of year when the Boltonia, Boltonia asteroides 'Snowbank' begins to bloom around it.

The rest of the year, the sculpture adds some interest while I dream of what this garden will look like in August.

Even though it is mid-August, this garden border is far from finished with its blooms. There are more blooms to come.  One of the asters is just beginning to show some color.
This is Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Andenken an Alma Pötschke', normally sold as 'Alma Potschke'.

And once the asters start to bloom, the goldenrod, Solidago shortii 'Solar Cascade' will make its crescendo, drawing pollinators from near and far for a final dance in the garden.
When my garden designer and I sat down and reviewed the plans for this area of the garden, she suggested either "daylilies" or a mix of late summer blooming plants. I'm very happy with my choice. I even like the Little Bluestem grass, Schizachyrium scoparium, which grows amidst the flowers, providing a matrix for the forbs, and giving the whole garden a prairie feel. 

Now this garden border is one of my favorite garden areas here at May Dreams Gardens. It provides new blooms at a time when many gardens are winding down, extending the perpetual spring, first described by Sir  Francis Bacon, through early fall.

It makes me happy to just stand by this garden border in the early morning before the sun is fully over the horizon, before I leave the garden to tend to life.

What's blooming in your garden in August? Please join in for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and show us.

It's easy to participate. Post on your blog about your blooms on the 15th of the month, then leave a comment below to tell us about your blooms and a link on the Mr. Linky widget so we can find you. If you have any problems with the links or commenting, shoot me an email, and I'll help however I can.

As Elizabeth Lawrence once wrote, "We can have flowers nearly every month of the year."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm home from the Garden Writers Association Symposium

I wish I had placed a penny next to these little flower shoots so you could see how tiny they really are.

They were clinging to this rock, holding hands with the moss to stay atop their little world, doing their best to bloom. It was exquisite, a true miniature garden landscape occupying just a fraction of space in a much larger garden

This is just one of the hundreds of photographs I took while attending the Garden Writers Association's annual symposium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Did you miss me while I was gone? I didn't post a thing on my blog the entire time. I didn't even post I would be gone because you just can't be too careful these days. Some of you might be plant rustlers, just waiting... I digress.

I took another picture at the end of the symposium, when I went on an optional tour to see two Frank Lloyd Wright houses, Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater.

From Kentuck Knob, you can see across the horizon to Maryland on the left and West Virginia on the right.
I checked a map when I got home and sure enough, Maryland and West Virginia do share state lines with Pennsylvania.  I had no idea.

These two pictures pretty much sum up the experience of the symposium.  From little ideas to mull over to big horizons to walk toward,  I left with  much to think about.

I started, or rather continued, mulling and thinking  as soon as I got home and mowed the lawn.  And I had a thought...

The story of a garden is ultimately the story of a gardener.

Once upon a time...

Friday, August 08, 2014

Garden fairies explain mystery gladiola

Garden fairies here!

We are garden fairies and you should have seen the look on Carol's face when she saw this white gladiola growing in the middle of Plopper's Field, the garden border where she just plops plants in wherever there is a bare spot.

She looked quite startled when she saw this big glad towering up over some daylilies.  Then she looked puzzled and her brow kind of furrowed a little bit.   You know why she was all startled, puzzled, furrowed?

We are garden fairies and we will tell you why she was all startled, puzzled, furrowed.

She was all started, puzzled, furrowed because she could not remember planting this gladiola in the middle of Plopper's Field.  She had absolutely no recollection.

Now many of you good readers are going to assume we garden fairies planted this gladiola here to play a trick on Carol.  We assure you we did not plant this here. Do you know how big a gladiola corm is? There is no way we garden fairies could move an entire gladiola corm, let alone plant it, even if we wanted to.

But we are garden fairies and we know how this gladiola came to grow in the middle of Plopper's Field.  It's a bit of a story, but it is absolutely true.

Years ago, out in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral, Carol planted some gladiola corms in one of the beds, just for decoration.  She thought it would be fun to grow them and besides, her Dad used to grow a row of glads in his vegetable garden, so she thought she would, too.

Well, as a general rule, Carol is a bit on the lazy side, so she planted them, they grew and flowered, and she enjoyed them, but she didn't dig them up in the fall.  She just assumed they'd die out and that would be the end of them.

That next spring some of them did come up again, but by then Carol had purchased some daylilies and decided to plant them where the glads once grew. So she dug up the glads that had come up... most of them were just little sprouts which weren't going to be big enough to bloom anyway... and planted the daylilies in that bed.

The next year, Carol decided to move the daylilies to Plopper's Field. So she dug them all up and moved them and they have grown just fine.

What Carol didn't know was that she didn't dig up all those little glad sprouts like she thought. One of them managed to stay hidden amongst the daylilies and even got moved with a daylily to Plopper's Field.

There it grew.  It must have grown for three seasons, hiding amongst the daylilies, until this summer.

Then this summer, the little glad which had hidden itself for so long, finally gave itself away by blooming. Because you know it's hard to hide when you are a tall white flower like this glad growing in the middle of Plopper's Field.

We are garden fairies and the good news in this story is Carol is going to leave the gladiola right where it was hiding all those years. See above about how she is a tiny bit lazy.

We are garden fairies. This makes us very happy.  Let the glad festival begin.

Submitted by:
Violet Greenpea Maydreams, Chief Scribe and Glad Hider at May Dreams Gardens