Deep Summer

If you want to see plants waving fronds, flowers, and foliage in the air like they just don’t care, come to my garden now. If you want to watch purples, pinks, whites, greens, yellows kaleidoscope as they flop atop each other, lounge on the lawn, collapse carelessly hither and thither, now is the time to visit.

While I do plant spring bulbs and early blooming perennials, my gardens are primarily August and September gardens. They come into their own now, fully formed, hosting a variety of pollinators, pretty much untended by me, messy and abundant and vibrant. And there’s something about the late summer sun that also enters into the sensual equation, where colour plus languidness plus light concoct the kind of shimmering magic that keeps me in the garden more and more often now.

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. –Sam Keen

(As if laziness weren’t always respectable!)

I planted a couple of wildflower mixes this year, two kinds for sun and one for shade, and some zinnias and cosmos from seed, plus a few late-season annual plants like a pink phlox and some grasses; I love the surprises that pop up; I’m going to do it again next year!

annual bachelor buttons in wildflower mix, 4 Aug
annual bachelor buttons in wildflower mix, 4 Aug
bumblebee on annual bachelor's button, 6 Aug
bumblebee on annual bachelor’s button, 6 Aug
wood nymph butterfly on annual pink phlox, 25 Aug
wood nymph butterfly on annual pink phlox, 25 Aug
red, orange and blue annuals in wildflower mix, 25 Aug
red, orange and blue annuals in wildflower mix, 25 Aug
pink, blue, orange annuals in mix, 27 Aug
pink, blue, orange annuals in mix, 27 Aug
purple wildflower in mix, 27 Aug
purple wildflower in mix, 27 Aug
yellow tansy and red clover, 27 Aug
yellow tansy and red clover, 27 Aug
purple cosmos, 5 Sept
purple cosmos, 5 Sept
monarch butterfly on zinnia, 7 Sept 2014
monarch butterfly on zinnia, 7 Sept 2014

The back border, home of the many monarchs, also hosted bees and mimics of all stripes, a small tree frog, dragonflies, birds, and lots of others:

5 bees on veronicastrum, 1 Aug
5 bees on veronicastrum, 1 Aug
red glads, 6 Aug
red glads, 6 Aug
magenta phlox and white hydrangea, 7 Aug
magenta phlox, white hydrangea, veronicastrum, 7 Aug
morning glory, 8 Aug
morning glory, 8 Aug
white admiral butterfly (Limenitis Arthemis) on echinacea, 11 Aug
white admiral butterfly (Limenitis Arthemis) on echinacea, 11 Aug
white echinaceas in bloom, 12 Aug
white echinacea in bloom, 12 Aug
part of back border, 15 Aug
part of back border, 15 Aug
red eyed vireo in pagoda dogwood tree, 16 Aug
red eyed vireo in pagoda dogwood tree, 16 Aug
red dragonfly, 16 Aug
red dragonfly, 16 Aug
back border with Joe Pye weed, 18 Aug
back border with echinacea, miscanthus, and Joe Pye weed, 18 Aug
juvenile grey tree frog on echinacea, 25 Aug
juvenile grey tree frog on echinacea, 25 Aug
willow gentian flowers, 25 Aug
willow gentian flowers, 25 Aug
purple and white phlox, 26 Aug
purple and white phlox, 26 Aug
bumblebee at willow gentian, 27 Aug
bumblebee at willow gentian, 27 Aug
willow gentian under miscanthus grass, 1 Sept
willow gentian under miscanthus grass, 1 Sept
part of back border with gentian, phlox, grass, 1 Sept
part of back border with gentian, phlox, grass, 1 Sept
part of back border, 1 Sept
part of back border, 1 Sept
yellow glads, 1 Sept
yellow glads, 1 Sept
miscanthus sinensis 'Gracilimus' grass, 5 Sept
miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracilimus’ grass, 5 Sept

Same with the fruit guild:

boarge flower, 4 Aug
boarge flower, 4 Aug
cucumber flower, 8 Aug
cucumber flower, 8 Aug
wildflowers, tansy, borage, 8 Aug
wildflowers, tansy, borage, 8 Aug
anise hyssop and 'moonshine' yarrow, 8 Aug
anise hyssop and ‘moonshine’ yarrow, 8 Aug
tansy and cosmos, 11 Aug
tansy and cosmos, 11 Aug
peaches, 16 Aug
peaches, 16 Aug
dill, 25 Aug 2014
dill, 25 Aug 2014
blue darner, 27 Aug
blue darner, 27 Aug
milkweed tussock moth caterpillar on asclepias, 1 Sept
milkweed tussock moth caterpillar on asclepias, 1 Sept
tansy, anise hyssop, and purple sand cherry, 2 Sept
tansy, anise hyssop, purple sand cherry, peach tree, 2 Sept
'Summer Pastels' yarrow, 5 Sept
‘Summer Pastels’ yarrow, 5 Sept
lupine in wildflower mix, 5 Sept
lupine in wildflower mix, 5 Sept
swallowtail caterpillar on fennel, 5 Sept
swallowtail caterpillar on fennel, 5 Sept
dill blooms, 5 Sept
dill blooms, 5 Sept

The side bed, with some new plants (like the tall vervain, below), really came to life this year:

blue vervain, 3 Aug
blue vervain, 3 Aug
buddleia and lemon balm, 6 Aug
buddleia and lemon balm, 6 Aug
great black wasp on asclepias, 9 Aug
great black wasp on asclepias, 9 Aug
perovskia and pink ascelpias, 14 Aug
perovskia and pink ascelpias, 14 Aug
buddleia and echinacea, 27 Aug
buddleia and echinacea, 27 Aug
perovskia, 27 Aug
perovskia, 27 Aug
spent allium and perovskia, 27 Aug
spent allium and perovskia, 27 Aug
asclepias pods, 7 Sept
asclepias pods, 7 Sept

And the rock wall, partly planted by me (hazelnuts and clethra this year) and partly by former owners and airborne seeds:

yellow daylilies in rock wall, 16 Aug
yellow daylilies in rock wall, 16 Aug
'Ruby Spice' clethra blooming, 24 Aug
‘Ruby Spice’ clethra blooming, 24 Aug
white hydrangea in rock wall, 24 Aug
white hydrangea in rock wall, 24 Aug
Japanese barberry (invasive), 4 Sept
Japanese barberry (invasive), 4 Sept

The front and sunroom borders (and even the patio, which hosted this garter snake) are a joy to behold:

garter snake, 3 Aug
garter snake, 3 Aug
blue lupine with ant, 6 Aug
blue lupine with ant, 6 Aug
echinops in bloom, 9 Aug
echinops (globe thistle) in bloom, 9 Aug
monarda, lupine, hostas, 12 Aug
monarda (bee balm), lupine, hostas, 12 Aug
American Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) on buddleia, 14 Aug
American Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) on buddleia (butterfly bush), 14 Aug
"Autumn Joy' sedum and 'Rozanne' geranium, 16 Aug
“Autumn Joy’ sedum and ‘Rozanne’ geranium, 16 Aug
'Hab Grey' sedum and red monarda, 16 Aug
‘Hab Grey’ sedum and red monarda (bee balm), 16 Aug
'Hab Grey' sedum bloom with bumblebee, 24 Aug
‘Hab Grey’ sedum bloom with bumblebee, 24 Aug
'Loyalist' hosta yellowing, 24 Aug
‘Loyalist’ hosta yellowing, 24 Aug
baptisia pods, 25 Aug
baptisia (false indigo) pods, 25 Aug
black-throated green warbler in 'Tina' crabapple, 31 Aug
black-throated green warbler in ‘Tina’ crabapple, 31 Aug
chipping sparrow, 31 Aug
chipping sparrow, 31 Aug
fritillary butterfly on buddleia, 1 Sept
fritillary butterfly on buddleia (butterfly bush), 1 Sept
first anemone tormentosa, 7 Sept
first anemone tormentosa, 7 Sept

And then there is the back “edge” (my narrow “forever wild” strip), the back fence itself, and other nooks and crannies where plants and animals come together as summer slips away …

Melanoplus bivittatus femoratus (two-striped grasshopper) and friend, 6 Aug
Melanoplus bivittatus femoratus (two-striped grasshopper) and friend, 6 Aug
crow on motion camera, 29 Aug
crow on motion camera, 29 Aug
phoebe on fence, 31 Aug
phoebe on fence, 31 Aug
bumblebee in chelone (turtlehead), 5 Sept
bumblebee in chelone (turtlehead), 5 Sept
chipmunk on bench with penstemon, 6 Sept
chipmunk on bench with penstemon, 6 Sept
grapes, 7 Sept
grapes in ‘forever wild’, 7 Sept

 

from Three Songs at the End of Summer by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.
 *
Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.
The garden sprawls and spoils, collapses, feeds, fertilizes, hosts, rots, roots, holds on, lets go, careless, carefree.

2 Comments on “Deep Summer

  1. Hi Molly, Especially loved these photos of all the blowsy, luxuriating flowers — really gorgeous! I guess I need to try sprinkling some of those packs of wildflower seeds in my “meadow” — it really didn’t go very far this summer, although I’m still hoping some of the plants I set out there will settle in and do better or at least drop some seeds that will have a chance of blooming next summer. Susan

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