Friday, August 2, 2013

A wonderful summer

Grape arch over the Nikko Blue hydrangea
This has been the loveliest, mild-but-warmest summer I've experienced since I moved here eight years ago. The weather has been very obliging, not too hot, not too windy, not too cool—very dry, but that's no surprise. The heleniums are blooming, the daisies are passing, the crocosmias and some of the daylilies are still going, and the hydrangea blooms are maturing and starting to show their fall hues. The paniculata hydrangeas are in full bloom now, and my oakleaf one bloomed for the first time this year. The Pinky Winky has a dozen big blooms and even my White Dome has one tiny little bloom.

Phloxes watching over the veggie garden
I'm still moving things around that turned out to be too close, and I still have too many plants that I haven't gotten planted yet. But I made a few small improvements in the watering system, and there have been several days when I've been walking through one part or another of the garden and my breath catches because I can't believe how beautiful it is. The lushness of the plantings and the way so many of the plants just keep getting better and better seems a reward out of proportion to the effort I've put into it. I've been working on it the better part of seven years, but it's the plants that turn a planted place into a garden. If they didn't grow, or flower, or come back every year, or change colors in the fall, the garden really wouldn't be much. But they do, and because of that, the jungle and weed patches I used to have, are now a garden.

Merritt's Beauty hydrangea—the three darkest flowers in the
lower right show the actual color of these blooms