A look back on the garden, part III

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Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!

Collage of flowers from the garden in July: pumpkin flowers, peony, hosta, poppy, sunflowers, iris and eggs.

This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!

To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.

While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. 🙂 At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.

July collage of flowers: coleus, poppies, sweet pea, pumpkin flower, apples, Maple tree

Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.

The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).

I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.

July collage of flowers including garlic, freesia, peony, lilies, sunflowers, roses, poppies, and pumpkin arch

We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!

You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.

The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!

I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. 🙂

End of July collage of flowers: sunflowers, lavender, daisies

We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).

I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.

The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).

Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!

July collage of flowers: roses, sweet pea, lavender wreaths, blueberries

We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.

Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.

I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.

More roses – of course!

August collage of flowers: helenium, pumpkins, hydrangea, gladiolas, lilies,

I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!

August collage of flowers: incrediball hydrangea, vanilla fraise hydrangea, coleus, lilies, agapanthus, calla lilies, sweet pea, Russian sage, pumpkin arch

So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.

The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.

See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).

Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.

Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!

end of August collage of flowers

We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.

The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.

The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.

The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?

And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.

Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think!
Part IV will finish out the year.

In Peace,
Dana

24 July 2021 Six on Saturday

Hello and welcome to my blog! We have been enjoying some super summer weather for a few weeks now, and boy does it show in the garden! The forecast is for some unsettled weather to head our way, so I’ve been spending as much time in the garden as possible. It has been so wonderful, I’ll be sad to see the good weather leave! I’m joining The Propagator’s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’ again this week. It was really hard picking just six as so many plants are showing off in the garden at the minute. But alas, here are the six I’ve picked:

Buddleis Buzz 'dark pink' butterfly bush

1 – Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. I *love* the scent of these flowers! They are so sweet! This butterfly bush is non-invasive and will only get about 4 feet tall and wide. Deadheading the flowers will encourage more flowers, so it’s worth the work. You can give them a hard prune in the spring, which means a later blooming time, but it also means an extended season for pollinators. The color is a fabulous magenta.

Butterfly bush lichfield angel California poppies Potentilla

I think this is a lovely combination of flowers and colors: Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ butterfly bush, Lichfield Angel (cream) David Austin roses, (orange) California poppies, and in the background (yellow) Potentialla.

Rainbow garden butterfly bush

This is another view of the butterfly bush. It’s in my Rainbow garden and this is definitely a banner year for it. While I do like to keep my colors to a minimum in other beds, I love that I have every color in this bed. The big messy green plant on the right is a mock orange. I’m not sure I’m going to keep that, though, as it doesn’t really produce a lot of flowers and it is just so messy!

Sweet pea hand held bouquet

2 – Organic Sweet pea ‘Old Spice’. This is another scented flower that I *love*! I’ve grown sweet pea for several years now, simply because the scent is so beautiful to have in the garden and in the house. They make very sweet bouquets, too. My Sweet pea fence is shorter than usual this year, and I think I’ll have less flowers because of that. But so far I am getting a nice full bunch every couple of days!

Sweet pea on fence

The sweet pea is really nice to have in the garden not only for its pretty colors, but for its sweet scent!

Pink Coleus

3 – Coleus ‘Rainbow’. I am somewhat new to growing flowers from seed. Although I’ve been growing sunflowers from seed for a number of years, some flowers just seem much more delicate. This was a pretty successful year, though. These coleus took their time growing, but now that they are nearly full grown, they are lovely!

young flower seedlins

I will have to show you the Cock’s comb flowers (on the left, back) next week! The Coleus took their time, but they look very well!

Coleus three in a row

This is what the coleus looks like today. Only the one plant is coming out a strong pink color. I plan to bring these three containers inside this winter so that they are ready to go next spring.

dark sunflowers with blue sky

4 – Sunflower Claret F1. I know I showed one of these guys last week, but they have really come into their own this week! They are just spectacular! This one has yellow, orange, red and brown in it, while some are a chocolatey brownish red, and some are brighter with more orange and yellow. They are tall (180 cm / 5.9 feet). I’m glad our bed frames are wide so that I can stand on them to take pictures!

Full Sunflower bed 21 July

5 – Full sunflower bed update. The sunflower bed has completely filled in and although the first batch of sunflowers bloomed a little early and are now fading, they are producing small little offshoots that are providing more color. Those short yellow flowers are supposed to be 6 feet tall! I guess they didn’t get the memo, as they are all equally short! There is one more layer on the far side of the Claret flowers that have not bloomed yet. They are dwarf sunflowers and I thought the slugs had completely eaten them after I planted them in the bed, but they actually rebounded and I only lost one of the six plants.

This is a picture of my seedlings early on in the season. This is definitely the most I have ever done in one season! I’ve had some successes, and some failures. But overall I’m really happy with what I have! I do need to work on a better system for keeping track to who’s who, though. Thankfully, it’s usually pretty easy to tell in the end.

Pumpkin Arch update 24 July

6 – Pumpkin arch update. The pumpkin arch is filling up! I have a few Jack O’lantern pumpkins, and a lot of Red Kuri squash/pumpkins. I think it will be nice and colorful! I am enjoying the orange squash flowers and all of the greenery while it lasts. The Claret sunflowers on the right are continuing to bloom, too.

Full view of garden incl raspberries 22 July

I took this picture from above in my daughter’s bedroom window. Everything is green and lush (haha! except our grass and the fields of barley!).

Full garden view from above 23 July

Here I’ve zoomed in a bit.

Full garden update July 24

And here we are back on the ground! I’ve enjoyed watching as the pumpkins make their way up the arch. I’m looking forward to watching it continue!

I hope you have enjoyed my garden tour! Feel free to join me on Instagram, too. I’m a big fan of using ‘Stories’ to give updates on the garden and my chickens.

Enjoy your week!

In Peace,
Dana