Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Upside of Excess

This has been a surprising summer. Wait... That sounds odd. Let me try again... I'm not surprised it's summer. I'm just surprised at all the daily weirdness. Frogs and chipmunks, creatures new to my garden, have moved in and made themselves at home.  A leaky spigot has gone from needing a plumber to hosting nightly frog parties. As for the chipmunk, I've convinced him never to leave by dumping piles of sunflower seeds outside his burrow. I may regret that.

But the strangest of all has been the rain. Tons of it.  We had twice as much rain in June as normal and July has started out a bit soggy. I'm ecstatic I don't need to water my garden but several diseases have begun an insidious invasion and a few plants have actually begun to rot. The gaura? A squishy, rotten mess. The purple sedum I can't remember the name of? Slightly miserable but hanging on.


I came home from a trip to discover a storm had knocked over my Rose of Sharon, one of my favorite plants, and it had stayed that way all week. 


Because so much time had passed the branches wouldn't pop back to their original shape and had to be cut. I should have just decapitated the whole shrub to make it even but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.


I only cut off what I absolutely had to and left the rest so the pollinators and I could enjoy the flowers. It looks absurd, but realizing I was going to have to butcher my favorite shrub almost made me ill. An empty birds nest lies among the debris.


This picture was taken from the dog run and shows the Rose of Sharon after having the heaviest branches cut. I'll prune it again this winter. Monarda are blooming near the ash tree.


Kalimeris and monarda that I've convinced to grow in partial shade


But what the rain has done is make everything grow, grow, grow! 


Self seeded phlox in the Dogwood garden


Trumpet lilies, monarda, and coneflowers in the Dogwood garden
The lilies are intensely fragrant. There's heliopsis in the background but the bunnies ate most of it so it's hard to see.


'Minnie Pearl' daylilies


I redesigned the Yuck Side last fall and used perennials collected from around the garden to help disguise the rain barrel. My collapsible Big Daddy rain barrel holds 156 gallons of water and fills up quickly in heavy storms. Purple pole beans have started climbing the metal arbor but since you can't see them in the picture, you'll just have to take my word for it.


Red Maltese Cross, no name toad lilies from a friend, and self seeded Painter's Palette grow easily here. 


 'I Lost the Tag' yellow daylilies with 'Laura' and 'Delta Dawn' phlox


Zinnias, marguerites (anthemis 'Susanna Mitchell), tricolor salvia, and an 'Abraham D'Arby' rose grow in containers. These zinnias were supposed to be pink but I love how cherry red they are. 


'Dark Ponticum' monarda and native mountain mint grow in the bright shade under my crepe myrtles.


Coneflowers in the Founding Flowers garden. There's a big empty space where the rain claimed a rue.


Peacock lilies near the agastache 'Blue Fortune' and knautia
The agastache has just started to bloom but will continue until frost. Both agastache and knautia are pollinator magnets.


This sign says it all!

42 comments:

  1. You have so many beautiful bloomers, Tammy! I like zinnias, which I have for the first time in our garden this summer. They're my seedlings. I'll have them next summer as well. I'm so sorry for your lovely shrub!

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    1. The shrub and I will both survive, just a bit worse for the wear. Zinnias are such great summer flowers - easy and colorful. They are one of my favorites.

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  2. It sounds like the summer we had last year... watch out - the weeds will be growing stronger than ever! Lovely hammock! I hope you get to relax in it soon.

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    1. I was in the hammock just a bit ago. :o) It's a wonderful reminder to just sit back and do nothing sometimes. :o)

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  3. You are having the opposite to us as we haven't had a decent amount of rain for about a month so lots of watering necessary

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    1. The amount of rain we've had is really unusual. It's usually dry with occasional thunderstorms. I normally have huge water bills all summer.

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  4. I'm convinced I live in the Pacific Northwest this summer! Except that it's a bit warmer. ;-) No complaints from me, but my garden is certainly enjoying the excess moisture as well! Thanks for the comment love, and YES I am SHOCKED that you fed the chipmunk! ;-) Just when I thought the neighbor cat had made a meal of my chipper friends, I now see baby chippers all over the place. Argh. I plan to post about their antics soon -- probably after GBBD. Your garden is splendiforous!

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    1. The chipmunk was so cute, I caved right in and gave him some seeds. He has a snug burrow under a rain barrel and is probably plotting the takeover of my garden as I type.

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  5. What a shame about your rose of sharon - it is such a beautiful shrub. I hope it recovers back to its full glory for you. Other than that your garden is brimming with lots of colour.
    p.s. thanks for the Blogger Spotlight mention (it was a beach, not a garden, picnic by the way).

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    1. I fixed it to say beach. :o) Thanks for the heads up. My garden is a summer garden because that's when I'm home to enjoy it.

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  6. B-E-A-Utiful. How many acres do you have with all those flowers.


    Bee Balm is my favorite perennial. With pinching and deadheading I get two months of flowers...and what a flower.

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    1. I'm on a tight 1/4 acre in the suburbs. Monarda is one of my faves, too. I've stuffed it in everywhere. :o)

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  7. The devastation to your grand old Rose of Sharon really hurts. It is one of your signature plants. But it is big and robust enough to suffer some damage and come back ok. The rain up here further north has also been on the extravagant side of excessive. Too much! Damage and disease are the results, but also lush growth, bounteous harvests of fruit, and greenery that is gorgeous. And dragonflies.

    I love your license plate signs.

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    1. The Rose of Sharon will be beautiful next summer after I've shaped it this fall. The one advantage is that the interior is getting some extra sun to help it fill out again. I couldn't resist those funky signs. :o)

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  8. Your garden is looking great! Is that Monarda fistulosa in the Dogwood garden? We have had tons of rain through early July, but right now no rain is forecast for the rest of the month.

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    1. The monarda is called 'Peter's Purple' and is from High Country Gardens. Any forecast past three days is just a guess so it's impossible to predict an entire month. There could still be rain in the future for you. :o)

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  9. I'm so sorry about your beautiful Rose of Sharon. I have a feeling it's a tough shrub and will survive. Your garden does look lovely, though. So many pretty and fresh looking flowers. We could certainly use some rain around here!

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  10. Lush and wonderful!

    Love all those coneflowers!! (And the bees must love them too...)

    Haven't noticed any pollinators yet on my baby Rose of Sharon. Maybe once it gets bigger?

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  11. Are you sure you're not operating a plant nursery in your garden....it's lovely, and brimming over with lots of colour.
    So sorry to hear about the Rose of Sharon, but it will be okay.....it survived the storm....just needs a little help to recuperate.
    I love your pot of succulents. I've been meaning to create one like it for some time now, just haven't got around to it as yet.
    I love love love the peacock lilies. I know they won't grow here, but I still love them.
    As for the Big Daddy collapsible rain barrel, I'm gonna have to track down one of those....didn't know they had collapsible ones, just what I need to accompany my big tank.

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  12. Lots blooming for you and I agree the amount of rain this year has made huge differences, especially compared to last year's drought. Sorry about the ROS. It's so heartbreaking to grow a shrub that large and then have to cut back because of a storm.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  13. Everything looks so beautiful. We too have gotten lots of rain this year and does it ever make a big difference in the garden. We've also had to trim our rose of sharon bushes severly this past winter but they will recover just like yours will. Hope you have a great weekend.

    Sandy

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  14. Wow everything is looking groovy after the warm rain-- well except the rose of sharon but it'll be FINE. I hugely appreciate the 'I lost the Tag' daylily. (Lots of those in MY garden.) Beware the chipmunk. I tried to pet one when I was six and it bit me. The lilies with the cone flowers are glorious!

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  15. So sorry about your rose of Sharon! It's always heartbreaking to have to do something like that in the middle of the bloom season! Your garden does look very green and lush after all of the rain and I love your license plate signs! Congratulations on your frogs! I've finally got a couple living in my pond after putting tadpoles there for several years. I hope that there's one of each sex so that there'll be more someday!

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  16. hi Tammy, it is interesting and challenging responding to change. It must be divine having frogs and other wildlife in the garden. I'm sorry about the Rose of Sharon, but I bet it looks good again really soon. The garden looks happy and healthy, with so-o-o-o many flowers.

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  17. WOW! SO much going on...I'm in awe of.....everything. Keep up the good work...lol x

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  18. Your garden is so beautiful...you see rain, we see blooms...yes it's sad about having to cut back the shrub..sigh. But you have new critters.

    How on earth does everyone else's Monardia stay upright, and all of mine falls over?

    Jen

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  19. I hope you never get tired of me telling you how much I learn from your garden photos... about options for dry shade, about successful plant combinations -- plant height, contrasting colours and complimentary leaf textures.

    I think that those of us who deal with dry shade a lot are a little shocked by what our yards look like when there is rain a-plenty. We've had terrrrrrrible heat and drought two years running. I know *I* had forgotten how different my plants look when the conditions are moister. Cheers!

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  20. Your garden looks beautiful. The Rose of Sharon should have time to recover, it looks just fine from the long view.

    Love the 'I lost the tag' daylillies, I have so many plants like that.

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  21. Similar weather here and lots of growth...your garden is just fabulous.

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  22. Just like you, I am sick of all the rain and cloudy weather we've had. You have lots of blooming going on. I like the zinnias. They are one of my favorite flowers.

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  23. Poor Rose of Sharon, why did you tell me? I'll be out of sorts for the rest of the day. I tried zinnias in my prairie garden, they struggled to put on a good show but it was no good and to make matters worse they never once blamed me. I may try them again in the oh so wet PNW if I can get over the guilt. Your joy in your beautiful, lush garden does my heart good.

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  24. I'm sorry to hear about your Rose of Sharon but boy all of your other blooms completely distracted me!!! Your garden is beautiful! The groupings of bee balm and the Peacock lilies are way to beautiful! You have such happiness in your space as well as color!! Love those garden signs...super cool!

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  25. That is a nice Rose of Sharon -- too bad. Although they are so tough, it will come through a severe pruning looking even better next year. Beautiful monarda and coneflowers.

    I remember more than a decade ago, when D.C. had had a couple of really dry years, all the experts said it was the way of the future and we had to use only drought-resistant plants from now on. But, of course the only thing we can really expect is challenging summer weather of one kind or another. The only way to manage is to take lots of ice tea breaks and read Henry Mitchell's books about enjoying the aggravation of the process.

    (I'm wondering how the basement of my --currently rented out -- house is holding up.)

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  26. Your garden is looking exceedingly happy - as is the chipmunk, I'm sure :) Please send any rain you're not using this way ... Lake Travis is at its lowest point since 1964 :/

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  27. Hi Tammy, when you say "tons and tons of rain", for those of us in the UK, does that translate to "slightly below average rainfall for Cumbria"? Your garden is looking wonderful and lush because of it, unfortunately, you've discovered that it comes with its own set of problems - there's just no such thing as a free lunch, even in nature, is there? It seems that while we're told to rip out all our plants and go for drought-tolerant ones, you're going to have to start replacing yours with moisture-loving and bog plants, tell you what, we could save a load boat-load of money by doing a mass plant swap, whaddya say?

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  28. Your big rose bush is really spectacular. I see that you have chopped off quite a bit. In your shoes, I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do it. I would just sink in a big stake and tie up the branches. Btw, roses do not really thrive over here, so I'm having rose-envy right now.

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  29. I am sorry about your lovely Rose of Sharon. I hope it recovers and blooms beautifully again. I love Monarda, too, because my bees appreciate it so much! I did mean to plant more this year, but didn't get round to it. I must do it next year.

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  30. chipmunks, frogs and bunnies - you're doing something right! Your garden looks and sounds like a natural haven. funny but we are getting your normal dry hot summer up north it seems. I tried weeding the other day but no luck. Dry as a bone and no rain in sight.

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  31. So sorry about your Rose of Sharon...it's so awful having to hack away at a beloved plant :-( LOVE the Echinacea, Lily, Monarda photo...so splendid!

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  32. I have had a similar experience though in my case it is with an overgrown forsythia. We pruned it poorly a few years back, it got leggy and then flopped. Just last week we hacked at it again (it grows like crazy!) and now it looks just awful. I have now decided to get rid of it all together from the side of the house and possibly relocate it somewhere that it can do no harm.
    It's too bad about your Rose of Sharon! They are such pretty shrubs. Hopefully it will benefit in the long run from the pruning. The rest of your garden is looking great. We have had lots of rain here too although I think we may be heading into a hot dry spell.

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