Monday, July 12, 2010

Withering Heights

It's that time again.  You guessed it - Bloomin Tuesday over at Jean's blog so make sure to check it out!

It's also Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2010 over at  May Dream's Gardens blog - stop by, tour many gardens of the worlds and add yours.

This title pretty much sums up how my plants - and me - are reacting to this heat wave we're having.  The thermometer in my car hit 100 degrees yesterday.  Really?  In Massachusetts?  We do not have A/C anywhere in our house so while the sprinkler is running continuously to keep the poor plants from keeling over completely, we're floating in the pool for the same reason.  Thank goodness for the pool, otherwise we would all be holed up in my step-son's basement bedroom (aka The Dungeon.... there are no windows in that room so it is perpetual nighttime down there, but oh so cool!). 

I find myself perusing the perennial collection at work every day, coveting the plants that have been plunked down randomly around the building.  Today I noticed a Platycodon (Balloon Flower) blooming which I absolutely fell in love with. I'd also like that Star-Gazer Lily right outside my window. Notice my use of the singular tense when I mention these plants.  That is because when they landscape, they plant one of each plant.  Isn't that a giant landscaping no-no? Isn't Gardening Law that there should be repetition or groupings to draw the eye around the landscaped area? 

I asked the receptionist if she thought anyone would notice if I dug it up to take home.  I guess it's time to admit that the heat has finally melted a portion of my brain if I'm actually contemplating stealing perennials from my employer.  But hey, I figure they probably wouldn't notice!  Last winters carnage is still mixed in with this year's new growth.  The Rudbeckias are blooming beautifully, with last year's multitude of seedheads mixed in and the hostas dead leaves from last year are lounging comfortably underneath this year's foliage.  Ah, well, we all have our own gardening style, right?

The Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise, Lavender 'Blue Scent', Echinacea and Rudbeckia aren't bothered by this heat in the least:

Neither is the Geranium 'Rozanne', which is impersonating a small shrub this year:

The KnockOut Roses (Radrazz and Double Pink) also are handling the heat well:

I have to share this.  We have more volunteer seedlings in this brick walkway, which I don't understand.  If I tried to plant things here, they would laugh in my face and die.  Bleeding heart and Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle) love to grow in the middle of the side walk.  I chop them down, they grow right back every year. Here's just one of the Bleeding Hearts (I cut down the other one already  - it was 3 ft tall in the middle of the walkway):

Delphinium Chinensis, Knock Out Rose Radrazz and Shasta Daisy Snow Lady:

Delphinium New Millenium are winding down:

Centaura (Bachelor's Buttons:

Heliopsis is picking up the slack for my June flowering babies who have sputtered out:

My 'Anything Goes' garden:  Gaillardia, Heliopsis, Rose Campion:

Happy Echinacea - I love them almost as much as the butterflies do:

Achillea 'Cerise Queen'.  I grew this from seed a few years ago and it really took over where it was planted so I dug up a whole lot of it and now I just let an itty bitty clump bloom by the pool, where it stays in bounds:

Queen Anne's Lace with Achillea 'Cerise Queen':

Buddliea 'Black Knight' (Butterfly Bush).  There are butterflies on this no matter when I go out in the yard:

Since the butterflies are so active now, it's a no-brainer that I must post pics of my new friends:

My what big eye(s) you have!

There were actually four butterflies on this clump of Echinacea.  The yellow Swallowtail was there also but I just couldn't get a picture with all of them in it.  They kept flitting around on me:

I was very ticked off (to put it mildly - I actually threw a small hissy fit) when I reviewed my butterfly pics on my computer and saw that the Butterfly Bush and Echinacea were loaded with my most hated gardent pest, the Japanese beetle!  I was so focused on the butterflies I didn't even notice.  As soon as I'm done posting, I will be out in the yard with a big bucket of soapy water commiting mass Japanese beetle murder.

And the ending to every post is always some overall yard pictures.  Only pictures of the back of the house, since the front is my 'neglected middle child'.  Not a whole lot blooming out there because I focus all of my energy on the back gardens. 

My favorite, the side garden:

Front of pool fence (Coral Bells 'Firefly', Rose Campion, Shasta Daisy, Coreopsis and KnockOut Rose 'Radrazz':

Outside of pool fence:

Back of pool fence:

Thanks so much for stopping by for a tour!  Hope you join the party at Bloomin' Tuesday.  May the Gardening Gods look down on you, blessing you with less heat than we've had and more rain!  Poor crunchy grass...  'feeling the grass between my toes' just isn't a phrase that will fit in right here.   Time to hit the pool.  I'm melting into a puddle here in the chair and the computer is ready to blow. 


Shirley said...

Nice juxtaposition of the Queen Anne's Lace and the Achillea!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Those butterflies are spectacular! No air and 100 degrees, wow you are brave. We are so spoiled here in the Midwest - we can have a whole summer where the air runs nonstop. I personally do not like to be in the air conditioning, but it is great for working or sleeping.

That pool looks wonderful and I would be pickled without the air. Try to stay cool!


Rosey said...


Thanks for following my blog. I am glad I stopped by and found yours! It is a treat!

Darla said...

Still beautiful in the middle of July!

The Idiot Gardener said...

Amongst all the flowers and butterflies, I must say I like the brick and sleeper path a lot! I'm planning to brick-pave the paths between mty beds when I get the time...

Deborah Jeans Dandelion House ~ inspired living said...

Hi there Tracy!
So nice of you to stop by and leave a nice note!
I love how you have arranged your gardens... and I especially like the floweres around the pool fence... One of my goals is to get some picket fencing and an arbor this add more of that New England Charm to my garden like yours!
Great work and wonderful photos...
I'm following you now to see what else you do in the garden!
Dandelion Wishes to you!

Bonnie said...

Love the butterflies photos. Gorgeous photos and gardens!

Anonymous said...

As usual your garden is glorious this week for Bloomin Tuesday! I love all the great butterfly shots, they are really active in your area this year. I haven't seen alot in my garden this summer, it's been a weird year. :)

Rose said...

Your garden is lovely in spite of the heat! You'll have to share your secret to getting such a lush looking 'Rozanne'; mine is looking so puny this summer. Coneflowers are my favorite, and I agree the butterflies enjoy them as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by and visiting me; I really enjoyed my visit here--your photos are beautiful!

Jean said...

Your gardens don't seem to be minding the heat too much.Just beautiful! We are still having heat and not enough rain. I refuse to mow when the grass is brown. Wishing you cooler, wetter weather. Jean

Allie said...

Everything looks great! Wish I could take a dip in that great pool! I love all of the butterflies! Gorgeous!

Cheryl said...

love the blue of delphs w/ the rose, very pretty color combo!Your gardens all look lovely despite the drought. My green eyes are revealing my envy.
Platycondon is a great plant , but it self seeds rampantly if not deadheaded, if your employer is a lax gardener there are definitly seedlings around,(when you pull them they have a little mini bulb attached) bet you could take those. Or you could snip a seed head after flowering and drop it in your garden, either way free plants and clear conscience....

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Wow, the colors (especially red and blue) are really popping in your pics, just great-enjoy!

Joanne said...

Hi Tracy great photos of lovely flowers particularly the delphiniums in your earlier post.

Diane said...

Tracy - everything looks great. What a treat your Blooming Tuesdays are.

My friend gave me a butterfly bush last fall and told me to cover it for the winter, as it was for the next zone down. I forgot to cover it and it didn't survive. I felt very badly about that.

Funny that the bleeding heart wants to grown in the walkway. I didn't realize they were so tough.

Sandy said...

Don't know how you do it? Not a weed in sight!
Beautiful Job, but such a lot of water to maintain!
So sorry to hear "no a/c" but then where you live, for decades, no one needed it! Mine, that is another story.. 365 days of the year it's on!
Thought I'd die yesterday,, it finially blew and had to get the a/c guy out to put in a new compressor....98' feels like 110 with our humid days!
Lovely garden!

Beth said...

Tracey, The delphiniums, the butterfly bush, echinacea, coreopsis, and achillea - stunning! Love the knockout roses too. They don't seem to mind the heat. Great shots with the butterflies. I was taking a walk through an "oak savannah" planted in a local park yesterday, and it was full of monarch butterflies. I am going to try Graceful Gardens for my delphiniums next year, on your recommendation. Have a wonderful week and stay cool! Beth

Kyna said...

Withering Heights indeed. Heat's been horrible this year. That's what all my blogs seem to be about lately, when I'm not complaining about non-gardening related things lol. Your garden doesn't look too bothered though, lucky! I'm too embarrassed to post many pictures of mine right now. Everything is so stunted and crispy looking. Like someone poured bleach all over it.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog via Dusty Bay's blog hop party.
Your garden is delightful! Love all the butterfly pictures!
It's in the 100's here, too (ugh)! Thankfully, We have AC, but that pool of yours sure looks inviting!
Here's hoping for cooler weather on both sides of the countery (I'm in California). :)
Try to stay cool!
~ Jo

Tracy said...

Hi Eileen - if we had more than a few days of 90 degree heat with humidity each year, believe me, I would have an A/C unit in our house!

Thanks Rosey, Darla, Deb, Bonnie, Allie, Lynn and Joanne!

Hi Idiot Gardener - I feel like I'm insulting you by calling you that, but I don't know your actual name. :) I love your blog - very funny. The brick paths are made from bricks my brother-in-law got us from an old factory he had to demo for work. How can ya beat free?

Hi Racquel - It has been a weird year, but for me in New England I'm loving the weird (hotter than usual and an early spring/summer). I need to move South. I hate winter. Hubby and I say every year "Why did our parents move here???" For my side, to be with family. Hubby's side... to get away from family and the awful New Jersey winters (Huh??? I could never figure that one out. My father-in-law is a smart man with no common sense. You know the type. Love him though)

Hi Rose - The secret must be that I just lucked out :) That's the only thing I can come up with anyway. I didn't do anything different and it isn't planted in the best of soils either. I guess it's just loving the warmer-than-usual weather like me!

Hi Jean - it's still warm with not much rain here, until today... it's been pouring off and on all day. Yay! My well pump / hoses / sprinklers are doing a happy dance that they can finally get a break. I water the flowers but never the lawn. So, our lawn is just an expanse of crunchy sticks - no walking barefoot across the yard for me! Hopefully it will come back to life soon now that we've gotten some rain.

Hi Cheryl - Thanks a million for the tip on how to get seeds/seedlings from my employers Platycodon! The danger of being fired for being a garden klepto has passed. I owe you one!

Hey Diane - So sorry to hear about the loss of your gifted butterfly bush :-( Mine pretty much dies to the ground every winter but always comes back - it's slow to get going in the spring. Once I see new leaves starting, then I cut back the dead wood & let it go and it starts blooming in July. My bleeding hearts are very tough - I'm assuming they're all like that. If not, then I don't know what's up with mine. Maybe they just love bricks :-)

Hi Sandy - There are definitely weeds here, but not many because my wonderful husband (aka: middle school teacher who has the summer off while I am up at 5:30 for work every morning) has become my Weeding Machine this year, which makes me love him even more. He also told me I should teach him how to dead head. Nice (although I'm a little afraid to give up that control) We actually mulched this year for the first time so it has cut WWAAYYY down on the weeding, and the watering. Yikes - that's alot of A/C! So glad the repair guy got right out there for you. I would gladly use A/C all year if it meant getting rid of the dreaded New England winters.

Hi Beth - I hope you do give Graceful Gardens a try - you won't be disappointed. The owner's name is Amanda and if you have any questions, just shoot her an email. She is incredibly nice and helpful and responds quickly - fantastic customer service, which is hard to come by these days.

Hi Kyna - Thanks to 'selective photography', the crispiness in our yard was not shown to the blogging world. I think complaining about the heat is a common theme in a lot of blogs lately! Hope you get some rain soon. Love your blog by the way - so funny. :-)

Hi Jo - Thanks for stopping by. We haven't hit the 100's thank goodness. Good thing you have A/C - when it's that hot, even the pool isn't refreshing. It's hard to cool off if the water warms up to the 90's!

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I love the pics you posted of the butterflies! I agree about the Japanese beetles.... grrrrrrrr!

Alyssa said...

I love(!!!) the Echinecea pic with the butterfly on it - so cool!

I totally laughed when I read your comment about stealing from your employer. I thought the same thing this week with some beautiful day lilies that fade from maroonish pink to yellow in the center. I actually thought about the possibility of digging up one bulb or trying to root a clipping - ha!

Get this... a purple lupine went to seed at my work (and it's gorgeous) so every day I go snag a couple of seed pods, LOL! Don't judge! They are beautiful and I'm not digging up anything so it's ok, right??

Alyssa @ Beholding the Beauty

Country Mouse said...

Here on the central coast of California (near Santa Cruz) we are having a very cool damp (from fog) summer - we're glad because it reduces fire danger, and we've had interesting things linger longer and bloom later - but NOTHING like you have there - yours is a totally different type of garden and very beautiful, very "English" looking to me. We have a pool also and are replacing our fence this year - I like your approach - open and friendly but not stark. Our pool is next to the neighbor fence so we are going with a higher privacy fence, in bamboo and redwood. I'm looking forward to landscaping that area come fall.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Tracy what a feast for the eyes here - your garden is so beautiful and in such colour just now - I have that same geranium as you - I only bought it a month ago as I was told that it was a great bloomer and went on flowering for months - yours really does look like a shrub.

I don't like planting in ones - rather 3 or 5 but nowadays financially I have to buy in 1's and do a bit of propagating from that plant.

Thankyou so much for visiting me.

Diane said...

Tracy, thanks for what you said about my daylilies. Rita gave me a really good idea that I'm going to try to do this fall. She likes to plant tulip bulbs under the daylilies - that way the tulip foliage, as it dies down, is hidden by the daylily leaves.

Queer by Choice said...

I'm so jealous of your Delphiniums!I planted some Delphinium seeds and got tiny little plants that are still alive, but certainly not blooming nor anywhere near it.

It's funny how we notice things in pictures that we never noticed when taking the pictures. For you it's the Japanese beetles, for me it's the weeds. Every time I'm certain I've pulled every weed in the yard, I just take a few pictures and immediately find some huge ones.

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Tracy: This heat is a true test of what plants are winners in the garden. I think you have many of them. Your garden in looking wonderful. Keep cool in the pool.

healingmagichands said...

I just loved the title of your post. Your pictures don't portray much withering, though, just lush gorgeousness. I can see why you love that side yard.

I MUST have some of that yarrow "Cerise Queen" -- just delicious.

Sending you lots of mass-murdering energy for the japanese beetles -- hope you got them ALL!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Tracy,
I can't tell from looking at your photos that it's so hot there. We've had a few scorchers, too, but last night, a storm blew through, bringing cooler temps. It's 84 right now, at 5:03 p.m.

I so enjoy seeing your blooms up close, and from farther away. Oh, and your "flying flowers" are lovely, too. I didn't notice the beetles, but did see what looks like a skipper with your 3 butterflies on the coneflowers.

Swim a lap for me, please. ;o)

teresa said...

Wonderful gardens you have. everything looks very healthy.

Ginny said...

Beautiful blooms - it's nice to see the close-ups and then the photos that put it in perspective. I also have volunteers in between the bricks - mine are impatiens in my steps! I've left them there blooming beautifully. I love the look of the coneflowers behind the white pickets. I took a similar picture in my garden. Hope your heat wave lifts soon! It's the same here but we're acclimated and have air-conditioning!

Sandy said...

I had to stop by to see what your have growing in that wonderful garden again! Your butterfly's just love your yard!
I live in a 'steam bath' here in sofla and most of my flowers are looking really sad.. we grow mostly in the winter where they flowers can be in 70' weather and it's much too hot this month for anything to survive...and the T/storms are furious each afternoon. Did you know, most people leave Florida for the summers. Only the tourists want to come down..haha
Although your having such hot weather up North, your garden is looking beautiful...