morning magic

I have a friend who fishes in the early morning on the St Lawrence River. You can hear the magic of it when she talks about it. I think an early morning sunny garden has the same cool quiet magic. This morning it was 40 degrees and perfectly clear-blue sky-sunny when I stepped out to let out Mr Fluff who had just eaten too much and barfed all over the living-room floor.  I stood there after taking in a deep breath of the sharp cool clean air and thought, I’ll try to capture some of this with the camera. But early morning fisherwomen and gardeners know–it isn’t really possible to capture the quiet, the calm, the peace. Still, I’m going to try!

slanting early sunshine lights up the lawn, making it glow.

In the back yard, the sun caught on the pink blossoms of the obedient plant.

gardeners who have this plant are enjoying it now as it begins to bloom when other flowers are ending their bloom time. Insects and hummingbirds really appreciate this plant in the late summer.

To the north, green smooth pastures and wooded hills make up the backdrop for the garden.

Mr Fluff, completely unphased by his earlier digestive problems, sits in the sun on the cedar bench, one of his favorite spots.

a sweet pea branch curls around a little plastic dragonfly I attached to a rusty horseshoe I dug up in the garden. It’s a very large horse shoe, certainly a draft horse wore this long ago.

The back yard has lost much of its riotous bright colors and is now mostly pinkish and green and off-white.

But the northside gardens are still going full blast, with much of the colrs coming from annuals and, of course, that late summer garden stand-out, rudbeckia goldsturm.

rudbeckia goldsturm, black eyed susan

The northside garden holds all the dahlias I planted this spring. There is the tall pink and yellow one:

And a shorter bright red single with dark foliage. 

Then there’s the double dark red. The buds are almost as as nice to look at as the flowers.And, ta da! Another dahlia bloomed for the first time this morning, a lovely lavender and white one.

Here is the first of the lavender dahlias close up, with dew still on the petals.

and here is the same flower in context, neck deep in phlox, echinachea and rudbeckia.

It’s the little things sometimes that make a garden walk rewarding, like the sun hitting this little self-seeded cleome seedling growing (oops) in the path, next to a fallen pine cone. By evening this cone will be nothing but scraps, probably left stickily on the bench which is why the seat of my jeans always have pine sap on them from where the squirrels left their table scraps!

Today is Saturday, and I am going on a little excursion to Watertown with my new bicycle. I’m going to cycle the short nature path there, have a bike rack and a few other do-dads put on the bike at the shop where I bought it, and treat myself to lunch at the Mustard Seed health food store cafe.

To dahlia or not to dahlia?

So beautiful, but such a lot of work. That’s dahlias. What’s great about them? Besides sheer beauty and variety, they bloom late in the year and keep on blooming generously until frost. The downside? We have to dig them in the fall, store them properly, and replant them properly in the spring. For some this might seem easy, but I have not yet got this process down. Another downside is that, while dahlias are native to Mexico, they are not really native here, don’t provide a lot of insect or bird or critter food. That is added to the problem (for pollinators) that we have cultivated huge full double blooms that pollinators have a hard time getting into.  Still, there are single varieties out there, and I’ve planted a few of them this year. Oh, and another downside is that half the time my dahlias don’t start blooming until just before frost. grr. This year I have a single that just started blooming. I forgot the name of it, sorry!

My favorite color for dahlias is deep red. One of these is blooming beautifully this year in the square garden. I got this one from Swan Island Dahlias. I love their catalog and can’t ever resist ordering a few. Several others of theirs are doing well but just now starting to bud. We’ll see! In past years I’ve had mixed success with dahlias. Mostly unsatisfactory, really. Often they are not stored properly and rot or dry out. My fault. I’ll keep working on it.

from 2010

from 2012

this is from 2013, when I covered over the last of the lawn in the back yard. This is a whole bunch of dahlias, carefully staked, that I planted in the back yard.  Most of them didn’t bloom very much before frost! erg.

Azteca!

You can see why dahlias are difficult to resist! They make such great cut flowers when they do bloom. 

So, overall I think dahlias are worth the bother–hopefully this coming winter I’ll get the process right!