View from the end of the month: August

Here’s what’s going on in my patch of land in northern New England as of 31 August 2016:

We’ve had some rain in the last month but we’re still below normal levels and some towns in the state have instituted water restrictions. I haven’t watered anything but a couple of container plants in the last several weeks. We’re running the dehumidifier in the clothes closet, so I pour that bucket of water on the plants every other day or so. The two rain barrels are now more than 3/4 full, so they’re also available.

It definitely feels like we’re on the downhill slide to autumn now. Most of the veggie plants are wilting (squash), leafless (tomatoes), and no longer giving much harvest (green beans), except cucumbers, basil, and bell peppers. I thought about planting a fall crop of arugula but never did. I’ve never planted fall squashes because I don’t really like to eat them.

Of course, the inedible giant volunteer gourd plant is going gangbusters.

giant gourd plant, 31 Aug
giant gourd plant, 31 Aug
two of the giant gourds, 31 Aug
two of the giant gourds, 31 Aug

As far as the non-edibles, i.e., the lion’s share of the garden, most plants have finished blooming and are putting their effort now into strengthening their systems to withstand winter and flourish next year. Late season bloomers like Joe Pye weed, caryopteris, kirengeshoma, hydrangea, tall phlox, and heather are taking up the slack; and some long-season bloomers — hostas, buddleia, geraniums, echinacea — along with annuals and self-seeders — cosmos, calendula, marigolds, zinnias, cupea vermillionaire (large firecracker plant), borage, bachelor buttons and other plants from the butterfly mix, sweet William (reblooming), scarlet runner beans (edible, but I grow them for the red flowers), even a couple of volunteer sunflowers I didn’t pull — provide more colour, height, and insect and bird food as the garden sings its swan song and the nights grow colder (I think 47F is our low so far).

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Here’s the photo tour:

HARVEST

So far, about 15 summer squashes, 20 cucumbers, 4 lbs of green beans, 30 cherry and sungold tomatoes, one bell pepper, a couple of batches (about 10 cups) of basil (not shown … made into pesto immediately), and about 20 garlic heads. I’ve also cut and used some parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, and oregano this month. I let the dill and fennel flower to bring little parasitic wasps to the yard.

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VEGETABLE GARDEN

My vegetable garden contains multitudes of non-edible plants, including the aforementioned butterfly mix flowers, quite a lot of perovskia (Russian sage), cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, buddleia (butterfly bush), gladiolus, and other plants that have bloomed already.

crimson clover starting to bloom -- part of butterfly mix in veggie garden, 31 Aug
crimson clover starting to bloom — part of butterfly mix in veggie garden, 31 Aug
annual bachelor button in butterfly mix, 16 Aug
annual bachelor button in butterfly mix, 16 Aug
perovskia (Russian sage), lavender, anise hyssop, ferns, weeds, 31 Aug
perovskia (Russian sage), lavender, anise hyssop, ferns, weeds, 31 Aug
green gladiolus and buddleia, 29 Aug
green gladiolus and buddleia, 29 Aug
monarch on buddleia, 23 Aug
monarch on buddleia, 23 Aug
volunteer sunflower, 16 Aug
volunteer sunflower, 16 Aug

Vanilla marigolds:

Hummingbird moth and fritillary in buddleia:

Zinnias! A lot of bang for the buck.

And a catbird (photo taken through a window — but I think s/he knew I was there :-)):

catbird in veggie garden, 26 Aug
catbird in veggie garden, 26 Aug

And also some edible plants: elderberry, the berries at their height now; bell peppers; and arugula and squash plants that were.

purpling elderberries, 24 Aug
purpling elderberries, 24 Aug
bell pepper, 29 Aug
bell pepper, 29 Aug
arugula gone to flower (then pulled out), 23 Aug
arugula gone to flower (then pulled out), 23 Aug
wilted remains of squash plants, 29 Aug
wilted remains of squash plants, 29 Aug

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SIDEYARD

Soon, it will be all asters.

aster foliage (pink and purple asters to come), 31 Aug
aster foliage (pink and purple asters to come), 31 Aug

For now, there’s deer, raccoons, neighbours’ cats:

deer on motion camera at 6:40 a.m., 28 Aug
deer on motion camera at 6:40 a.m., 28 Aug
raccoon caught by motion camera, 28 Aug
raccoon caught by motion camera, 28 Aug
neighbour's cat, 20 Aug
neighbour’s cat, 20 Aug

As well as a long-blooming Neon Intensia phlox, a lobelia I didn’t plant, the rarely-seen-in-my-photos Red Fox veronica (because I unintentionally planted it in a hidden spot), orange and yellow calendula (pot marigold … an annual), and a common wood nymph butterfly on echinacea.

Neon Intensia phlox still blooming, 31 Aug
Neon Intensia phlox still blooming, 31 Aug
lobelia siphilitica (blue lobelia), 9 Aug
lobelia siphilitica (blue lobelia), 9 Aug
pink Red Fox veronica, 9 Aug
pink Red Fox veronica, 9 Aug
calendula, 12 Aug
calendula, 12 Aug
Cercyonis pegala (common wood nymph) butterfly on echinacea, 12 Aug
Cercyonis pegala (common wood nymph) butterfly on echinacea, 12 Aug

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ROCK WALL

There is a rock wall between our yard and the neighbour’s. Mostly whatever grows there isn’t my doing (daylilies, lily of the valley, various trees, hydrangea, ferns), but I have planted a few things in it: a couple of Ruby Spice clethra shrubs, a viburnum cassinoides (wild raisin) shrub, a black pussywillow, two hazelnut shrubs, a couple of inulas (elecampane), a sweet cicely or two, a few lady’s mantle, two gillenia trifoliata (Bowman’s root), and a few weak plants when the alternative was to compost them. Here’s what’s happening there now:

lady's mantle, 4 Aug
lady’s mantle, 4 Aug
catkins on hazelnut, 31 Aug
catkins on hazelnut, 31 Aug

Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’:

purple phlox in rock wall, 31 Aug
purple phlox in rock wall, 31 Aug
goldenrod and ferns, 31 Aug
goldenrod and ferns, 31 Aug
lily of the valley fruit, 31 Aug
lily of the valley fruit, 31 Aug

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SHADE GARDEN

Chelone (turtlehead) and kirengeshoma (yellow waxy bells) are the stars now.

part of shade garden with chelone (turtlehead) blooming, 31 Aug
part of shade garden with chelone (turtlehead) blooming, 31 Aug
bumblebee with pollen in chelone (turtlehead) bloom, 27 Aug
bumblebee with pollen in chelone (turtlehead) bloom, 27 Aug
hosta, kirengeshoma (waxy yellow bells), peppers in container, 29 Aug
hosta, kirengeshoma (waxy yellow bells), peppers in container, 29 Aug
kirengeshoma bloom, 14 Aug
kirengeshoma bloom, 14 Aug
shade garden with Ivory Halo dogwood, hosta, kirengeshoma, astilbe, 23 Aug
shade garden with Ivory Halo dogwood, hosta, kirengeshoma, astilbe, 23 Aug

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BACKYARD

As predicted, Joe Pye weed is the main attraction now:

grasses and Joe Pye weed, 23 Aug
grasses and Joe Pye weed, 23 Aug
Joe Pye weed, 31 Aug
Joe Pye weed, 31 Aug
fritillary on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug
fritillary on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug
damaged Viceroy on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug
damaged Viceroy on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug
monarch on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug
monarch on Joe Pye weed, 25 Aug

Phlox, hydrangea, heather, willow gentian, and grasses have been blooming all month, too:

phlox from a friend, 24 Aug
phlox from a friend, 24 Aug
purple phlox in front yard. 24 Aug
purple phlox in front yard. 24 Aug
hydrangea, 12 Aug
hydrangea, 12 Aug
panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' grass blooming, 24 Aug
panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ grass blooming, 24 Aug
morning glory from a friend, 24 Aug
morning glory from a friend, 24 Aug
purple heather blooming, 31 Aug
purple heather blooming, 31 Aug
willow gentian, 25 Aug
willow gentian, 25 Aug
willow gentian flowers, 23 Aug
willow gentian flowers, 23 Aug

And beyond the fence, there’s grapes vining through the trees and a few nice wildflowers in the back:

grapes, 25 Aug
grapes, 25 Aug
goldenrod, white asters, jewel weed, et al. in backyard wild strip, 31 Aug
goldenrod, white asters, jewel weed, et al. in backyard wild strip, 31 Aug

A few bugs joined me on the patio:

Lophocampa caryae (hickory tussock moth caterpillar) on patio chair, 25 Aug
Lophocampa caryae (hickory tussock moth caterpillar) on patio chair, 25 Aug
duskywing butterfly, 14 Aug
duskywing butterfly, 14 Aug

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SUNROOM BORDER

Not much happening here now – mainly the magenta buddleia:

echinops (globe thsitle), 12 Aug
echinops (globe thsitle), 12 Aug
bee on mint flower, 12 Aug
bee on mint flower, 12 Aug
magenta buddleia (butterfly bush), 23 Aug
magenta buddleia (butterfly bush), 23 Aug

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FRUIT GUILD

Alas, no peaches this year. But, nasturtiums, anise hyssop, fennel, borage, a new batch of sweet William, winterberry, and weeds like hemp nettle.

fennel, aster leaves in fruit guild, 31 Aug
fennel, aster leaves in fruit guild, 31 Aug
anise hyssop and purple sand cherry, 23 Aug
anise hyssop and purple sand cherry, 23 Aug
new borage flower, 31 Aug
new borage flower, 31 Aug
new Sweet William flower, 31 Aug
new Sweet William flower, 31 Aug
Red Sprite winterberry berries, 31 Aug
Red Sprite winterberry berries, 31 Aug
galeopsis tetrahit (hemp nettle), 9 Aug
galeopsis tetrahit (hemp nettle), 9 Aug

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 FRONT YARD

Purple Emperor echinacea and orange gazania, 9 Aug
Purple Emperor echinacea and orange gazania, 9 Aug
bee on Autumn Joy sedum, 29 Aug
bee on Autumn Joy sedum, 29 Aug
Hab Grey sedum blooming, red zinnias, 29 Aug
Hab Grey sedum blooming, red zinnias, 29 Aug
Turkish Delight sedum blooming, 29 Aug
Turkish Delight sedum blooming, 29 Aug
front yard phlox, and goldenrod, 29 Aug
front yard phlox, and goldenrod, 29 Aug
purple phlox in front yard. 24 Aug
purple phlox in front yard. 24 Aug
Johnson's blue geranium and Gold Standard hosta, 29 Aug
Johnson’s blue geranium and Gold Standard hosta, 29 Aug
monarda (bee balm) with dwarf River King birch beyond, 23 Aug
monarda (bee balm) with dwarf River King birch beyond, 23 Aug
thyme flowers, 24 Aug
thyme flowers, 24 Aug
white hollyhock flowers from friend, 12 Aug
white hollyhock flowers from friend, 12 Aug
caryopteris 'Longwood Blue' just starting to bloom, 31 Aug
caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’ just starting to bloom, 31 Aug
Cupea vermillionaire, 29 Aug
Cupea vermillionaire, 29 Aug

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Come back in September! Asters aplenty!

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“The most that any one of us can seem to do is to fashion something – an object or ourselves – and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak, to the life force.”  — Ernest Becker, from The Denial of Death (1973)

3 Comments on “View from the end of the month: August

  1. I love the vanilla marigolds – so cute!

    I use the water I’ve washed vegetables in to water the plants. Would that get round water restrictions where you are?

  2. Yes, Helen, re-using water is a great way to conserve it! Mostly the water restrictions are not to water lawns, or to water only from 7-8 p.m., or to hand-water only (no sprinklers). Thanks for reading!

  3. Now inspired to go out and take some photos of my garden. I know there is a beautiful hydrangea out there and a multitude of zinnias and sunflowers. I moved the eggplants to a sunnier location yesterday but probably too late. Pesto making for today.

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