Blooming in July in NE Ohio Garden
There’s so much blooming in my NE Ohio garden in July that I will probably overflow into August telling you about it. I’ve been trying for months to capture the electric blue of this Sea Holly and this is as close as I’ve come (above featured photo) — it’s still not the vision I have with my own eyes but it’s close enough for you to see why I love it so much. I planted it in this bed probably 10 years ago and it is so resilient because I lost it for a couple years, then it reappeared, so I’m assuming it self-seeded itself. I will have to dig through my gardening journal archives to find the variety because it’s my favorite Eryngium.
Where did July go? I blinked and it’s almost over! We had a fabulous time with family and friends this month and finally got some beautiful sunshine in-between the thunderstorms. That means I’m behind in telling you about what’s going on in the garden, but here’s a mini catch-up…more to come in August!
We’re working vigilantly on weeding from all that rain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen weeds this tall in my garden before and I’m sure the neighbors are pleased that I’m working away to remove them! I take a more leisurely approach to weeding in the cottage garden because it’s so much easier to identify self-seeded plants I want when they’re big enough to identify. We live close to protected marshland so the birds bring a lot into the garden that shouldn’t be here, but sometimes it’s a gift that I enjoy. I used to weed very early in the year and then mulch, but I was pulling out many of the volunteers I would like to keep. One in particular is the Northern Sea Oats Grass. I just love this lovely plant with the nodding grains that dance in the slightest breeze. But, it looks so very much like other grasses in the the seedling stage that it’s impossible to identify before it gets its nodding flat grains. I had let one area go that I thought contained the Northern Sea Oat Grass seedlings and finally realized I had a mess of something else I didn’t want! Needless to say, that was the first spot I tackled this week and it will be mulched heavily to fix the mess I made.
The vegetable garden is finally looking like something that may produce (above), so I’ll be sure to share pictures of its progress in August. We have several varieties of Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash and Cucumbers in this bed. Weeding and mulch is taking up most of my spare time when I can stand the heat before the mosquitoes come out to eat me alive. What a crazy gardening year! What a difference a month makes — this is what the garden looked like when I finally got the poor things planted (below) in late June. I really was hopeful, even though I was a month late, but I never imagined that they’d look like the above within a month!
I finally got the last of my annuals, a couple perennials, a couple squash and some leftover peppers planted this month in a spare bed we cleaned up to use this year. It used to be my holding area for perennials that I didn’t know what to do with, but I’m turning it into a butterfly garden with some veggies mixed in as an experiment. It’s partial shade and the extra sage I planted there last year didn’t fair well at all, yet the sage within two feet of those plants are producing like crazy. They must get just enough sun to give them hope! I’d really like that bed to be a place for some green beans, extra peppers, a squash or two, and more flowers for pollinators so I’m experimenting to see what not only survives, but thrives in that partial shade. So far, the Butterfly Weed and Egyptian Onions Mel gave me seem very happy there. My two extra squash plants croaked within a week of planting. I think they drowned from all that rain, so I’ll try some seeds to see what happens this late in the year. Photos of that later this month because right now it pretty much looks like the sad veggie garden above in late June! HA
That’s the one thing about gardening – there is always hope, hope for later in the year, hope for an Indian Summer, hope that the snow starts late, and then finally hope for next year. What can be better than a hobby that’s filled with hope? I can’t think of anything better than that where my mess-ups can be turned into gold just by happy accident and if not, then there’s always next year!
As I type a butterfly is hanging off the Sweet Peas outside my living room window. Of course, every time I’m outside with the camera, the elusive creatures hide from me. The Sweet Peas are a happy accident gift by the birds. They’ve traveled around the garden over the years and they pop up in the most surprising places. Currently, they think they belong in my Red Garden and I’ve allowed them their pink fantasy because they’re enticing so many beneficials. Even the Hummingbirds love them. They also climb pretty high into my Weigela so that I can see the activity from where I sit to write. That poor Weigela is looking pretty sad since I butchered it last year in an attempt to keep it from eating not only our house but our neighbor’s as well. It’s a more manageable size so that we can at least mow in-between our houses, but it’s not so pretty. The Sweet Peas have claimed it as their happy home and are fixing my bungle, or at least making it more palatable by giving me fun activity to watch for now.
I did get a chance to show my granddaughters a beautiful, what I believe was a, Black Swallowtail hanging off a Tiger Lily in the front cottage garden last week, even though it fluttered away before I could get my cell phone out of my pocket to take a photo to identify. The Sweet Peas, Tiger Lillies and the Bronze Fennel seem to be the attraction this year for the flutterbies! I adore all three and they’re multiplying nicely so no complaints from me.
Finally I was able to capture some butterflies twice this week so I picked a couple photos to show you. I think this is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail? They love, love, love the Tiger Lillies and the butterflies have been here daily to feed.
We’ve also had a great amount of lightning bugs this year so nighttime in the front cottage garden is filled with activity. The mosquitoes seem to love the back garden more than the front so I’ve been getting some weed-pulling time and trimming in each evening when the temperatures are cooler. I just don’t dare go into the back after 7:00pm because they’re like a herd of vampires, hitching a ride into the house on my clothing so that all night long I’m swatting like a crazy woman. LOL I wonder where the bats are this year? They’re usually hanging off an overhang on my shed and I haven’t heard their squeaks. They’re falling down on their job of mosquito annihilation! Of course, getting smacked into by a bat chasing his dinner isn’t exactly something I enjoy immensely, so maybe I haven’t heard them because I’m not out there listening. Seriously, one smacked right into me one summer night a few years ago and I found out how loud I could scream! That’s when I had the night-blooming Daturas which enticed a bigger moth activity. Note to self to grow some Daturas — their scent is lovely and we need the bats.
The back garden is a restful place, full of shade loving perennials. I have a Hosta collection (above is Sum and Substance with Blue Elegans) that has matured over the years, along with the groundcovers, into a peaceful place I love going to read a book, so I’m moving a set of chairs next to the Hostas this week so I can appreciate them with a tall glass of iced tea. I think I’ll drag my laptop out there and see if the WiFi works. Maybe next time I can write from the garden. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
What’s blooming in your world?