Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Garden

It's been hard to maintain a garden, this summer. Back in June there was a yellowjacket nest near the woods, and there were scouts patrolling my garden; every time I pulled a weed they would come to see what had changed and who had changed it and why. Some deer decimated everything that wasn't a weed, and the few things they missed, they stepped on. Here are some pictures of what managed to straggle through.I grew this 'Mr. Majestic' marigold from seed. It's the sole plant that survived; squirrels dug up the other seeds and ate them. I love the striped petals. At least deer don't eat marigolds-- yet.I have two rose-of-sharon bushes-- this light pink one, and another with a lilac-bluish tinge to the blossoms. The deer chewed the buds off the second one, though. Rose-of-sharon likes to grow at the corners of the house where the downspout is, so that it gets lots of water. It's the national flower of Korea, and reminds me of some folks I'm fond of and haven't seen in a while. The deer didn't eat my monarda, either. This specimen came from a plant sale at a local botanical gardens a few summers ago. I forgot to stake it, so it flopped everywhere. I love the way it looks like fireworks. Hummingbirds like these, but I didn't see any this year.The feverfew finished blooming by mid-July. It's a biennial; I got two little plants many years back when I was first diagnosed with migraines, and now they've taken over my garden and come back every year. They're pretty, with leaves that smell muskier than chrysanthemums', and dainty flowers a little larger than baby's-breath but with a similar effect. Sometimes I make a tea of the leaves, but prefer to mix it in with another type; it tastes rather unpleasant. There are times when I have felt that it slightly dulled my headaches, but I'm not sure if it's that or the fact that drinking tea is therapeutic for me.The liatris bloomed earlier in the summer, too. Goldfinches like the seeds; I've often seen them perched on the blooms and pulling them apart to see if they're ready yet. I have five or six of these, nice big clumps that I grew from corms. The flowertops are over waist high. One year a pest control man decided to put a termite trap right on top of one of them. I guess he thought it looked like a perfect place. I was greatly displeased.These black-eyed susans are descendents of a plant that my auntie got for me at the farmers' market in Tonawanda a few years ago. Its leaves and stems are fuzzy, and the flowers are big and soft-looking with rounded cones. This year the flowers have been rather stunted due to being constantly chewed off and trying to grow off the sides of the stalk in a desperate attempt to survive. The flower on the left is what it originally produced.The fuzzy black-eyed susan reseeded itself and grew some non-reddish ones, too. The flower variation in its offspring is interesting. Here are two of the results. I also have some black-eyed susans which a neighbor gave me several years ago. They have narrower petals and leaves, flat "buttons," and are not fuzzy. Next year I'll be giving away a lot of fuzzy and non-fuzzy black-eyed susans to happy homes, since there are too many here and they're choking each other out.These are my leucanthemum daisies. A neighbor gave me three spindly, half-dead specimens and insisted that they would grow-- and grow they did. I just gave away several bags this year, and can't even see where I took them out.My phlox barely had a chance to bloom before being eaten. Now there is literally one floweret sticking off the top of a stalk, but since that picture was too depressing to post, here are the original plants that mine were divided from, in my Nagypapa's garden. Hummingbirds love these-- it's so cute to see them checking each tiny floweret on a whole florescence. Actually, if you look really closely, you can see a sphinx moth somewhere towards the left half of the picture. They look like overweight hummingbirds with antennae, and are hard to get used to.My dahlias are still trying to bloom. I didn't stake them, either, and then couldn't find them in the tangle until they resurfaced. These white-tipped burgundy ones are some of my favorites.I wanted to take pictures of some young skinks with turquoise tails, but couldn't find any. Here's a spiderweb, instead. The spider has a curled leaf near one side of the web where it sits to keep out of the sun and rain. It chose not to be in the picture. I know how it feels.

I'll have one more post for fall flowers in the next month or so, and that's pretty much it for this year's garden. Right now there are more horse nettles and microstegia than anything else. I think next year I'm going to downsize slightly and give away bunches of things, so that the remainder can have room to grow again. There are also some fascinating mushrooms coming up with all the rain we've had here-- stay tuned for more in the next few weeks. ^_^

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