Finding color in the dog days of summer

I ventured outside with my camera yesterday to take stock of the gardens. Good news and bad news.

Although many things are done blooming and are dried up and falling over, the hosta in the landscaping outside our front door are adding color with their bright, white blooms. I don’t know what variety these are. I am more familiar with the lavender hosta blooms.

You might notice my little white mobile lawn decoration in this photo.

Around the side of the house, things are not so cheery in the angel garden that runs alongside the driveway. The ivy is resurfacing in many places.

The photo on the left was taken June 16th when we have put our shovels away for a while. Because we did not double-dig this section, by now much of the ivy has returned as you can see in the photo on the right taken yesterday, August 8.

The beautiful daylillies that I photographed on July 6 are now brown, scraggly and getting choked off by the ivy that you can see returning in the photo on the right taken yesterday. The reason the ivy is gathered around the base of each plant is that we tried to remove the rhizomes between the plants, but did not want to uproot the daylillies before they bloomed. Rhizomes travel under the roots of our perennials and send up shoots around them. We plan to lift the daylillies when the weather cools and attend to the remaining ivy rhizomes here.

The good news is, much of the garden is relatively ivy-free where we took great pains this summer to lift plants, double dig, and pull all the rhizomes out as you can see in this photo also taken yesterday.

If you look closely, though, you can still see the Chameleon ivy leaf rearing its head here and there. If we leave even a tiny piece of rhizome behind, even a mere 1/4 inch in length, the plant will resurface. The vigilance this project requires is exhausting. But these isolated little plants are easy to weed away.

I took this photo of the far left side of the garden where we did not yet pull the ivy. If we wouldn’t have worked to eradicate it, the entire garden would appear to be one large mass of this plant.

I did find this little blooming lythrum in the angel garden. When we were clearing the ivy and weeding, I saw this little scrawny weed-like plant, but I wasn’t sure that it was a weed, so I planted it back in. Happily so. I’m going to buy more of these next year because they add a nice color right now when not much else is blooming.

The little sunflower light is a solar light I bought for this garden. I actually bought three. I thought they would be nice little white lights at night. Much to my surprise, they are actually colored lights and oscillate through red, blue, and green. Mark likes them. My jury is still out.

The St. Francis garden is looking sorely neglected. At our old house I used to clip the iris foilage back to about five inches to neaten things up. I haven’t done that here yet.

The sedum will make a nice show when they bloom, which looks like it could be pretty soon.

My three little knockout rose bushes are the color powerhouses in this garden right now.  I also have a few black-eyed susans. I’ll have to keep an eye on those so they don’t take over the garden. I noticed a yarrow, not shown here, that may bloom soon. I wonder what color it will be. I don’t remember from last year.

This little purple mum (I think. I don’t believe it is an aster), should be quite colorful soon.

One of the things I love most about gardening are the little surprises that happen along the way. This scrawny little sunflower plant is a volunteer. I don’t know whether it sprouted from the ones I planted last year, or from the birdseed we used last winter. It’s not doing so good, but when something tries that hard to survive, I let it (except, I guess, for the ivy).

These cheerful little zinnias are also volunteers from last year’s plants.

At certain angles, and you have to tilt your head to the side for this one, the garden still looks lovely,

and is productive enough for me to have a few little cut flowers on my window sill.


See more posts about gardening in my series.

18 thoughts on “Finding color in the dog days of summer”

  1. so pretty and so sweet….your life is good Christine…:) and I thought Arthur was representing the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer. heheheh

    1. I think my life is good, too. I know I complain a lot and am sad sometimes, and truthfully the Alzheimer’s is a very difficult, heartbreaking thing to deal with without relief, but there are worse things that could happen. I could be living in Somalia, for one.

      I feel blessed. I always have.

  2. We have a large patch of ivy my hubby would like to reduce in size. Looks like he might have his work cut out for him. We also have trumpet vines that would overtake the entire city if allowed. I finally took the pruners to the purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans today. They were a sad-looking bunch. New coneflowers are forming, so they should be back soon. Thanks for sharing your lovely garden. Arthur looks quite nice in there.

  3. Wanna trade? I assure you rows and rows if tall sun bleached condos waiting to fall when the next category 5 hurricane comes are much more delightful than this dreadful jungle.

  4. We have a whole whole lot of landscaping to do to our forty acres. I actually get pretty overwhelmed about it and think about letting it all go to seed. But then, I guess I could just think of it as another Work In Progress and just take it one acre at a time. Thanks for the lovely pictures!

  5. Christine: we’re overlapping comments today. But I’m commenting on more of your posts because you’ve written many more meaningful ones than I have, and I’m trying to do catch up!

    These pictures make me want to visit you and wander around your plants and flowers; though they may be sagging at this time of year, they’re *just* lovely. I’ve always wanted a house with a beautiful yard; but the beautiful yard takes a LOT of work to keep looking beautiful. But it’s obvious you enjoy gardening and that it’s something that brings pleasure to you and your husband.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ann. I love being outside and it is more meaningful for me to be working with the plants and soil, although once the hot weather hits I stay inside.

  6. Its so nice to come on this journey with you Christine as you have weeded and planted and made your garden such a special place to visit.. Loved all your photo’s here and long may you reap its rewards and I hope that you can stay on top of that Ivy… it certainly swamps everything in its path if left unattended..
    Wishing you a Great Wednesday!


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