more paths, and the flowers of high summer arrive

First, I have to report to Michele that the tomato plants you gave us are growing like crazy and look great. Here are a few pictures from this morning of the vegetable garden:

healthy tomatoes

healthy tomatoes

mulched sweet potatoes

mulched sweet potatoes between peas and fava beans

onions, beets, chard, goji berry shrubs, etc.

onions, beets, chard, goji berry shrubs, etc.

So, we are having another garden party, on July 15, to celebrate the hemerocallis (daylilies) which are the pride of my garden. Stella d’Oro is already blooming along with the first Siloam Ury Winnifred, and a few other yellow ones.

Stella d'Oro

Stella d’Oro

first bloom of Siloam Ury Winnifred opened this morning

first bloom of Siloam Ury Winnifred opened this morning

daylily buds on a scape, in a fistful of blooms-to-be

daylily buds on a scape, in a fistful of blooms-to-be

lots of daylily buds!

lots of daylily buds!

The most dramatic flower in the garden right now are the delphinium, which are just reaching peak. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I have been working on widening paths and doing other landscaping in the lower part of the front yard. Here are the  before and after shots of the pathway:

standing in the driveway looking into the (non)path

standing in the driveway looking into the (non)path

same spot after I weeded and widened the path and put down mulch

same spot after I weeded and widened the path and put down mulch

This is another view of that newly widened path from the other direction:???????????????????????????????I like it that you can actually get through the garden now without having to bring a machete. I had to pull out a whole row of gooseneck loosestrife, but they’ve happily jumped the stone wall on the other side of the patch and are spreading that way, which is fine. In the same area, the bottom part of the front yard, I added a clear, rock-lined path to the little bench against the potting shed:???????????????????????????????This is a very nice place to sit in the late afternoon, because it is shady and has a little breeze. Here is another picture of it:???????????????????????????????The view of the front yard in the morning sun is always beautiful: ???????????????????????????????I rely a lot on hosta for this part of the garden. They’re so easy! I also have gooseneck loosestrife, lily-of-the-valley, bleeding heart, and solomon seal in there. And a few ligularia. Those need lots of moisture so I mulch them heavily or they wilt. The hostas never wilt, and I like the variety of leaf shape, texture, color and pattern. Here is one of my favorites:???????????????????????????????The garden under the kitchen window is pretty much nothing but hostas. They’ve filled the whole area in and I love it. A row of Stella daylilies runs along the bottom, and a few foxglove (digitalis) cling to the rock wall. ???????????????????????????????Lastly, here are a few of the flowers that have just started blooming in the last few days:

beebalm coloring up and budded

beebalm coloring up and budded

the very first echinacea opened this morning

the very first echinacea opened this morning

heliopsis false sunflower

heliopsis false sunflower just starting

zinnia (grown from seed!) are budded

zinnia (grown from seed!) are budded

Keeping up with the weeds, and making paths

square garden edging

square garden edging

I dug out a “moat” and filled it with heavy pads of old hay. It’s doing a great job of keeping the weeds around the bed down. Elsewhere I have been mulching like mad with used and partly composted stable wood shavings.

back yard telephone pole garden mulched

back yard telephone pole garden mulched

I also use a thick layer of mulch on the paths. Here is one newly mulched path in the front yard:june 20 043I really put the mulch on thick. There are a lot of fungi in my garden this year, which is good for the soil and plants, so I like to see it.

In another big project I tackled the overgrown southside path. I widened it, and created a nice low rock wall. It is not done yet, but here’s how it looks now:june 20 003That is looking at it from the east. Here is a view of it from the west:june 20 006Here are a few random pictures we took of the garden this morning:june 23 001

astilbe budded

astilbe budded

I love this picture!

I love this picture!

very healthy bleeding heart plants!

very healthy bleeding heart plants!

One tired out gardener

I think I’ll take a few days off from gardening! Even with my sister-in-law’s help I’m tired out from getting ready for the garden party. It was a fun party, with around 25 people, and excellent weather. The peonies obliged by starting to bloom just that day. ???????????????????????????????Before the party M. and I worked on weeding and widening the southside path. It is not finished, but we made a good start, and “planted” a beautiful hitching-post-shaped stone  in what will eventually be a low stone wall lining a nice, curving wide path.

the southside walk before we worked on it

the southside walk before we worked on it

Here is looks now, half-done: ???????????????????????????????Another big job I did before the party is weed, put down newspaper, and hay mulch in the hosta bed under the kitchen window. Here’s the before picture:garden 001And here is the after picture:???????????????????????????????Very satisfying! After the party I went around and staked the delphinium:???????????????????????????????We also found what looks like a maple-leaf or some similar vibernum growing along the road in our woods, and brought it down to live in the back yard. I am sure we cut some of its roots in the process, but I trimmed it back and watered it generously, and it seems to be fine. Here’s a picture of it:???????????????????????????????Oriental poppies, siberian iris, campanula glomerata, clematis and roses are also blooming now:???????????????????????????????June 17 001June 17 013???????????????????????????????The rose smells wonderful, and the bumblebees think so, too:June 17 023

Getting ready for the Garden Party

new single red peony

new single red peony

The June 15 garden party/potluck is to show off the 30-some peonies in the garden, but the delphinium have decided to sneak up and maybe steal the show. They’re doing very well this year with the cooler temperatures.

Last June delphinium

Last June delphinium

More delphinium from last year:

last year dark blue delphinium

last year dark blue delphinium

The gorgeous red charm peony will be done by the party–here it was a few days ago:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Now the other mid-season peonies are just starting, which is perfect for the party. We are in our third straight day of steady rain, but it’s supposed to be nice weather for the party on Sunday. I’ve been kept out of the garden by the rain for much of the time. Yesterday it stopped raining for a few hours in the evening and I spent the whole time happily weeding and mulching the square garden. I’ve been focusing on making the paths wide enough for visitors to get through. Here I am weeding the southside pathway the other day, before the rain started. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I pulled out the bricks lining the path–I plan to widen the path and maybe put in one of the low rock walls that look so nice. Some of the plants will have to be dug up and moved back a foot or so. Below is a picture of the path a few days earlier–hard to get through.

The southside path before it was weeded

The southside path before it was weeded

Here are a few of the nice wide, mulched paths in the front yard:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And here are a few random photos from the days before the rain:

red columbine

red columbine

old fashioned small iris

old fashioned small iris

poppy

poppy

perennial bachelor's button, centaura montana

perennial bachelor’s button, centaura montana

iris and dame's rocket in morning sun

iris and dame’s rocket in morning sun

Jeanne, don’t read this post

You might be tempted to sneak up here and steal mulch in the Jeanne-the mulch-bandit-van. So, sometimes farmers just can’t get hay bales picked up fast enough, and then the bales get rained on and they’re no good as hay, so they have to be dumped. I call this kind of hay “dead hay” and it’s good for garden mulch if you don’t mind the weed seeds that tag along. Last summer our neighbor had this happen right across the street from us. All winter I looked at all that mulch sitting out in the field. Here’s a even a photograph of them from last December:hay field with dead balesA few days ago David and I saw the farmer come by with a tractor and hay wagon to start picking up these now very dead bales, so he could dump them in a corner of the field, to keep them from getting in the way of this year’s hay. We hustled across the street to make a deal: we will help you pick up these bales if we can then unload them in our yard to use as mulch! It was no easy job. Those bales were already happily turning into dirt, complete with lots of worms. Great! We had to pick them up with a pitch fork because the baling twine had rotted. I made David take a photo of how much hay mulch we ended up with. I warned you Jeanne! Just remember, envy is a sin!???????????????????????????????In other gardening news, I created a cute little stone-lined walkway leading into the bench under the pine tree in the square garden. Here are the before, during, and after photos:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????garden 091?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It took me about two hours of concentrated effort, including hauling stones in my little wagon, moving plants that were in the pathway, laying the stones, etc. After that I took a break on the front porch with two large glasses of water with lime juice added–our healthy version of lemonade! garden 097

staking peonies and so forth

 

This morning was cool and overcast. Good day for weeding and transplanting. I have yarrow that I just love and it loves my garden, maybe a bit too much. It’s the tall, fuzzy, greyish yarrow, here’s a photo of it from last year:July 6 090It is a little bit high maintenance, since it flops if I don’t stake it, and it spreads like mad, shoving into its neighbors. This morning I pulled out a big chuck of it that was crowding the delphinium, divided it into three pieces, and planted those in the new back yard:???????????????????????????????That section of the back yard now has catmint and yarrow, so I’ll keep planting aromatic things there. Yesterday I staked two peonies in the front yard and this morning I staked another two in the back yard. Only 26 peonies to go! Ye gads. How did I end up with 30 peonies?? David was around so I asked him to take some pictures of me staking and planting and later hanging out with the cat. Here are the pics:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The cats seem to really like being where we are outside. They’ll lie around near where we are working, and as soon as I sit down on a chair or bench they come over and sit on me or beside me. Anyway, here are a few pictures I took of the back yard standing under the apple tree:??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????this morning 008I also took a picture of a hosta–they are almost all unfurled now and some are even sending up flower stalks already. This one has pretty leaves:this morning 010

Back yard construction!

 

Yesterday was hot and sunny, the soil getting a little dry. Today we had some wonderful warm summer showers and two good downpours, so the newly planted annuals should be set for awhile. Yesterday I did some major work in the back yard. Here is a picture from 2008 in July when the top section of the back yard was still grass and the back yard had just been started.  july 4 08 078Here it is in July 2010, with a little more height, more filled in, and a newly-planted lilac:July 2010 058July 2010 049Above you can see where the top of the backyard garden is–and there is a strip of sod there. It stayed that way for a few years. The grass was nice for putting chairs and sitting–in theory. It looked inviting, but we never sat down in those chairs! Either we were busy gardening or the bugs were bad. July 27 2010 052The garden to the right in this picture above gave another boundary to the back yard. And the bed under the apple tree had a nice sharp edge to it and a low rock wall as well.  July 27 2010 063Then I added a rock-lined raised bed around the telephone pole in June 2012:June 14 067The back yard was shrinking away by bites. Last year we decided to do away with it altogether. We used big sheets of cardboard from the furniture store to smother the grass and lots of hay on top. ???????????????????????????????Then yesterday I decided to work on it some more. We planned out a nice wide path and I planted some annuals just to have some color there while we decide what to plant there. Here are the pictures I took of the process and the end result:

just starting out

just starting out

getting an edge, removing sode

getting an edge, removing sod

little rock wall around the peony plant

little rock wall around the peony plant

Adding a wide path diagonally through the area:???????????????????????????????And some nice bright annuals:garden summery 017Elsewhere in the garden now the iris, dame’s rocket and Star of Bethlehem are blooming. garden summery 024garden summery 008???????????????????????????????We have been working a lot in the vegetable garden. The cats love to hang out there with us. Here is Mr Fluff with the chives:???????????????????????????????Here’s the vegetable garden in morning sun:???????????????????????????????