|Inca Marigolds in deep orange bordered by Profusion Cherry zinnias.|
(And you can't see the weeds as well, either.)
This is the time of year I enjoy the most for now the annuals we raised so carefully in the spring take center stage. With the drought and extreme temperatures we had this year, not every plant performed as well as they usually do. In other words, plants I tried for the first time will have to have a second or maybe even third year of planting trials before I can determine if the plant is really a dud or not.
|Profusion Cherry Zinnia looking very tired in the River Bed.|
And some of them look worse than ratty.
Many of them have given up the ghost. Dead as a doornail.
|Looks like a color/negative shot, doesn't it?|
|The same zinnia, bordered by 'Crystal White' angustifolia zinnia out by the mailbox.|
The white zinnia in the picture above is another annual I adore. Zinnia angustifolia "Crystal White' may not look like much when you first plant it, but it is a powerhouse of bloom, never needing deadheading and tough as nails. Powdery mildew is very, very rare with this plant.
|Can't see the tree grates very well anymore, the hyacinth beans are covering them up.|
The first picture is the west side of the driveway and the petunias are putting on a wonderful display right now. Gotta love the hay mulch we put down earlier this year, it certainly kept them going. Bubblegum pink Supertunia is in the pot (I made cuttings of these and they filled out beautifully) and the others are Grape and Pink Avalanche petunias along with a Denver Daisy rudbeckia and another batch of Inca Orange marigolds from seed.
So, the poor hyacinth bean would have been another casualty scratched off my 'Stuff to Plant Again' list if I didn't know what they can do in a more normal conditions. Hey, everybody has the right to have an 'off' year, right?
Let's see the other side of the driveway:
|Willie the Willow and Ernie, two year-round companions in our driveway.|
"I wonder if anyone will ever know how many years this tree has been here?"one of them asked the other. "Can you imagine what tales this tree could tell of how things have changed in all the years it has lived?"
Well, I know how old Willie is.
I hated to burst the bubble of our visitors, though, because they thought he was Ancient. Somewhere around here is a photo of me, sitting on our brand-spanking new electrical power box with what looks like a feather in my hair. The 'feather' was Willie who was planted just behind the power box. I was 20 years old and Willie was just a sprout then. He was given to us as a little whip that had been rooted in a pail of water by Carl's late uncle, Jack. When we planted the tiny branch, we had no idea it would survive in the sand, but we kept watering it. Apparently he liked it here.
|Found the picture....there's me and Willie waaaaaayyy back in 1978. (Time was kinder to Willie.) And that hayfield is our garden now.|
We have worries about him falling over and landing on the house some day, and have done some preventative pruning here and there. Weeping willow trees are not for everyone; so many visitors say they like the look of the tree, but would never plant one due to their messiness. I don't feel Willie is any more or less messy than any other tree, really. Yeah, he loses twigs here and there, that's for certain, and he needs his bangs trimmed every so often, but he is so well-behaved, allowing hostas to thrive right up to his trunk. No roots to deal with, considering his size.
|St. Fiacre enjoys the shade along with Gold Standard hostas and a climbing hydrangea.|
And the shade he casts is a cool oasis on a hot summer day. Willie is the first tree to leaf out in the spring and the last to lose his leaves in the fall. In fact, we've had snow on the ground in both spring and summer and there's Willie, wearing his green in spring and bright yellow in the fall. No other tree has the graceful movement in a passing breeze. For all Willie does around here, I can put up with his 'messiness'.
Ok, enough with the driveway already, let's head for the Pachyberm out on the front lawn.
Another oddity this year were my castor beans, which should be towering in the range of six+ feet by now. Well, they're about two feet tall, but they're still growing.
|Two foot tall castor beans and cassias. But they're pretty.|
|Castor Beans finally flowering.|
|Silver grass doing what it does best, reflecting light.|
|Karl Foerster lighting up the yard behind the house.|
|And another specimen out by the road with zinnias and salvias.|
|Gotta hurry up, it's getting darker out. Pachyberm with assorted grasses and some struggling rudbeckias.|
|Moving on to Thing One and Two bed|
Let's head to the Formal Garden. Now the mosquitoes are bugging me, gotta step it up a bit.
Follow me to the Quarry. Nope, there ain't much water. But what can we do? Did I mention we lost our big koi this year? Raccoons came when the water was even lower than this and somehow cornered the twelve year-old fish. Judging by the huge scales we found lying on the shore, the pests had a fish dinner. Oh, we felt SO bad. I just hope the end was quick.
|Looking down from the top|
|Up from the bottom, lol.|
|The back wall of the Quarry. See the sand on the fourth level? Woodchucks have been digging. SIGH!|
|Goldsturm rudbeckias are still blooming, but even they are starting to wane.|
|Really getting dark here...trusty Aermotor windmill in background.|
|Little closer......I moved the potted petunias here after we yanked out all the Indian Summer rudbeckias. And can you find the live trap in this picture? Trying to catch the woodchuck who keeps on DIGGING holes everywhere!|
|The bees are building nests under the cut stones needing mortar. Carl used the flame thrower and changed their minds a bit.|
Heading over to the main hosta beds, the Royal Standard hostas are blooming now on the right. Love their fragrance.
Heck, they're making our bigger rocks look puny.
Ok, almost done on this walk-through. Getting really, really dark.
You can't control the weather.
"If at first your plants don't succeed........
Try, Try, Again."
There's always next year, and we gardeners are an Optimistic Bunch.
Hope you all have a great Labor Day Weekend!!