and she will take full advantage! Following weeks of high temperatures and dew points, Monday finally delivered a 60F morning high that will remain in place all week. On my garden schedule I had a large project looming and now was the ideal time to toil outdoors. Cooler temps allowed me the stamina to complete today’s chores by 9 AM.
Gardening, I have learned, will make a habitual weather watcher out of us all. Although my favorite time of year to garden is November-March, summer months demand attention. Weeds from all directions attempt to reside on my little half-acre, forcing me to regularly go on patrol and snuff out (read yank/dig) any unwanted greenery.
In recent years, I became enamoured with the history of heirloom daffodils and bought many bulbs for Swallowtail Cottage. I chose dozens from catalogues and planted them into five unused raised beds. Long ago, I gave up fighting insects and fungal issues when growing veggies in the mid-atlantic region of the eastern US. (Zone 7a)
Just a sampling of my heirloom daffodils. Such a delight after a long winter. Varieties date from 1600-1800.
This says it all on a summer day at Swallowtail Cottage.
This raised bed hosts both daffodil bulbs and my Wow-zer! Catnip
Thanks to the barista at the local Whole Foods Market, often I collect spent tea and coffee grounds and add to my raised bed soil for the worms…after bulbs were dug. Worms LOVE coffee grounds and I learned that once used, the acidic grounds become neutral.
Neatly turned soil with amendment underneath. What shall I plant next? Perhaps fall lettuce.
Beginning of the 2019 heirloom daffodil harvest. These bulbs quickly multiplied, requiring digging. They will become a cash crop at market this September, and I will continue the tradition of spreading heirloom varieties. If you desire heirlooms in your gardens, contact Old House Gardens and they will mail a catalogue and help in any way.
The drying table in the shed is filled to capacity with daff bulbs. They will reside here for up to a week, then dry soil will be removed, then they will be hung in net bags and held in the cool, dry basement until weighed and sold.
Harvested nepeta waiting for a basement transfer. As I dug the bulbs, the nepeta had to be removed, leaves were hand picked, rinsed, and spun dried. Since the shed is filled with bulbs, the patio table and sweater dryer will be temporary alternative spots for drying.
As I toiled, I could not overlook the stunning bloomers in my gardens. Award Winner Little Lime Hydrangea (Panicle Hydrangea)…planted in March 2018, is already a star. Oakleaf blooms so much earlier that this specimen is eye candy during steamy, hot summer days. As a dwarf variety, this beauty will be welcome for years to come.
Another newbie to my gardens is Tickseed (Coreopsis v. ‘Moonbeam’). Planted in June 2018, this cheerful perennial with its daisy-like lemon yellow flowers, blooms throughout the summer. Fern-like foliage is light and airy. In 1992 this garden gem won Perennial Plant of the Year. And best of all, it attracts pollenators.
Another showstopper this time of year is Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum). As soon as the buds begin to open butterflies spend all day nectaring. Talk about a WOW! factor! This herbaceous, late-blooming perennial is native to much of the USA. It is a wildflower and an herb that was used as an herbal remedy to lower fevers and other maladies. It does like wet feet so every morning I empty the dehumidifier water onto its roots.
If readers recall the front path redo a few years back…this photo reveals the challenges I continue to face with this property. I often say if I could get my hands on the guy who graded this place, I would hang him from the utility pole. Alas, the path work stopped the previously mulched path from eroding, yet the pea gravel allows massive weed infestation, requiring hand and knees weed removal. As often as I think on this challenge, (don’t want steps) I will continue to add pea gravel. At least it is a forever stone. Any ideas from readers?
The top of the path joins the wider entrance path, and my happy Morris Buxus, which I continue to adore. The dwarf Nandina were removed (failed to thrive), so remain the Buxus for now. The “hanging chad” bay window continues to dangle, yet I have my eye on a Houzz Corten planter…filled with perennial ferns…I think may be a simple, elegant, easy solution.
Adore my wee Morris boxwood? The two tons of river rock installed in this bed requires even more, as ground settles. My nickname was formerly “Mulch Queen”… now it is “Rock Queen!”
Baby 5 was my perfect companion during this gravel project. She held steadfast, despite my concerns that I would break her.
Last year’s view of house front. See my “hanging chad” bay window? So glad to have calm in that bed now. What do you think of a large planter under the bay filled with ferns?
On another topic: The Eastern Bluebird box with three predator guards and Hardie Plank strips on roof helps protect the nest from four-leggers and heat. I rarely have summer nesting Bluebirds, yet this year this box is in high demand.
Tired of losing wee toads to the window well, I added screen until I can imagine a better solution.
So goes the month of July 2019.
May August be kind.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for both educational and inspirational purposes. Author receives no compensation for mentioning brands or businesses.
Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved