Again, the reminder for the Monthly Garden Report: all photos that accompany this post are in the following photoset.
June was a bit of a downer, due to poor planning last fall, so it shouldn’t be much of surprise that I went on a gardening spending spree a bit this month. In the wake of my bulb stupor and relative apathy towards my current plantings, I resolved to buy mostly rare or unusual plants. I will be sure to post my purchases in another post. Despite having too many purple plants in the perennial border, I decided that I absolutely need hits of purple in the backyard garden this time of year. The light in the heat of summer is yellow and it muddies the cooler colors like pink and white and makes all the green plant leaves look iron-deficient. Purple is the only cool color that abides in the heat. I’ll remember to plant reds and oranges into the borders next summer. They play well with purple. Really, more of everything is needed. I’m experimenting with the perennials this year as our austerity measures in spring didn’t include annuals, and now I see the property suffers from a paucity of late blooming perennials.
But waiting to plant is hard. So I let myself get egged on by Jodi of Bloomingwriter to “just keep planting,” despite the fact she lives in Nova Scotia and I most certainly do not. I went out an bought a Summerwine Ninebark and a couple of Acapulco Salmon & Pink Agastaches and some Mexican Feather Grass and promptly planted them. Now, experienced gardeners would know that transplanting perennials when it’s just shy of 100˚F is unwise. But I remember reading Christo reminisce about when he was a child and his father took him to meet Gertrude Jekyll at her home in Surrey, and he observed that she was transplanting out in her borders in July. I used this to justify my chosen course of planting while ignoring the loud disclaimer booming in my head “THIS IS NOT SURREY AND YOU ARE NOT GERTRUDE JEKYLL!” Amazingly, through conscientious watering and the generous relief of afternoon shade, they are coming through. But even I cannot ignore deprecating voices in my head forever, so when I finally got my Abies glauca prostrata and Tsuga Canadensis ‘Moon Frost’, I let them rest in their pots in the shade. Looking a bit crispy from their stay at the nursery certainly helped their cause. I may plant the Hemlock as the weather is going to be a touch cooler next week and it’s new home is in the coolest and shadiest part of the garden. Reason may yet prevail.
The Hostas didn’t get off so easily. With the patio project, all the plants from that border which I hadn’t moved this spring had to go. These particular Hostas were waiting for the removal of some Iris rhizomes, which didn’t happen until recently, when it was 95˚F out. Determined to move them the same day of the Iris eviction, I went ahead. Providentially, a cold front rolled in and the temperature dropped down to the upper 60s. I moved them quickly, cut off their flowers, and watered them generously into newly composted ground. I’m pleased to say they are not showing any signs of stress even now as the hotter air has returned.
Needless to say, I’ve been burning through my gardening karma.
So, I figured I needed something to distract me, ergo the patio project. I had my brother and the hubby out cutting up sod and dirt and roots with the sod-cutter earlier this week. There was a good deal of root carnage to the maple, which I feel badly about. Although, it’s a relatively small area; I’m sure it’ll be fine…eventually. But with the grass gone, the tree won’t have to compete for water anymore. But seeing a beautiful new curve of bare dirt is tempting me down destructive paths. No! We are not planting. This is a patio area. No plants! It’s so hard to say no! Especially when you are cutting through a tangle of roots in order to remove six inches of topsoil.
I just hope the heat breaks as I get out to dig up the rest of those Iris rhizomes and a few cubic yards of topsoil.