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  • A dry garden, until it rains
    Today, in this first week of August I’ve just planted a handful of hostas, several red hot pokers (Kniphofia, below), and a few ferns. Thunder rumbles in the distance, with the promise that a soaking storm might get the new plantings off to a splendid start. I’ll water this evening if the rain doesn’t amount...
  • Feels like midsummer
    I returned from two weeks of plant shopping inspired and ready to plant. Within days a redbud was planted to replace a failing hydrangea, and a section of lawn bordering the forest was cut out, then widened to accommodate a wall of granite boulders backfilled with excavation and added soil. Then the heat hit, and...
  • What to do?
    Returning from two weeks away, I found the garden in superb condition, though several tall weeds that had been hiding before I left now towered above their neighbors. Today, I see the first signs of creeping weeds on bare soil that must be removed before they cover more ground, and this reminds me that now...
  • Ain’t no cure?
    Here, the case of summertime blues is a minor annoyance, not nearly as disappointing as thunderstorms that tantalize then regularly bypass the garden. The shade in much of the garden is a splendid benefit, not only in the heat of summer, and despite the inherent difficulty in growing flowers, I would not give up the...
  • Close to nature
    Every day, I’m reminded how fortunate I am to have stayed put for thirty-three years, with a garden now chock full of mature trees and shrubs. Still, I’m impatient with new plantings, and unfortunately, not attentive to the care required to nurture tiny perennials that are shoehorned into gaps. For once, I must agree with...
  • Back and blooming
    I understand that I am far too inattentive to regularly grow anything from seed or by rooted cuttings, so I am quite pleased by the success in growing blackberry lilies (Iris domestica, aka Belamcanda chinensis, below) from seed to today’s blooms. Dozens of seeds were collected from a variety of sources, and while I managed...
  • Just lucky?
    I was warned, but couldn’t resist planting Pinellia, a jack-in-the-pulpit cousin that is quite aggressive with numerous reports that it could not be controlled or eradicated. Call me stupid (others have), but I plunged forward. Now, I thank my good fortune that Pinellia has spread, but that I was lucky enough to plant it with...
  • Always looking
    Tomorrow I visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Alabama), but already I’ve been inspired to add to the garden when I return home. There are not many spaces open after thirty-three years, but I’m figuring a way to plant an area beneath the canopy of several maples at the forest’s edge. The ground is solid with...
  • While I’m traveling
    The first of the blackberry lilies (Iris domestica, below, aka Belamcanda chinensis) is flowering this morning, the first from seeds gathered in late summer two years ago. Reports of flowering in the first summer are likely to be when seeds are started in a heated greenhouse, while mine is not and tiny seedlings are planted...
  • Summer update – Japanese maples
    Despite a dry late spring, the garden’s Japanese maples are thriving. Red leafed maples have faded slightly in July’s heat, but these are shaded a bit so color does not fade as much as maples in more sun. Green and variegated leafed maples show little change from spring, though the Floating Cloud maple (Acer palmatum...

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