Garden Resolutions –Midseason Check-Up

Big Blue Sea Holly

Mid-July is here -- time for gardeners, including me, to check how much progress has been made towards inner gardener resolutions for 2012. The local drought just broke; with any luck there is still an opportunity to make some mid-season adjustments and get our garden planning back on track.

The weather wasn’t the only curveball thrown into our gardening schedule this year. While recovering from an illness, instead of working on garden design, I spent January through June talking about what I wanted done, pointing to where I wanted it done, and watching the under-gardener do it. (Thank you Dan).

We had lots of bright garden ideas; here’s the progress we made:

The Fountain. Our carved-stone fish fountain has been spitting out recirculated water into its clamshell catch-basin since early spring. It still needs some work to plug a leak around the tubing, and I’m still evaluating whether it’s in the exact right spot, but it’s been a delight to hear and see.

The sitting female Buddha remains inside the house for now, watching over our new puppy.  Buddha’s appearance is so serene and calming that she has yet to make it outdoors into the garden.

Grow Camp - lettuce, tomato, and pumpkin plants

Our experiment in growing vegetables in the Grow Camp has had mixed results. The under-gardener believed the Grow Camp didn’t need to go precisely in the spot I had pointed out. The result is that it is now in half-shade, while the strip alongside and to the back of it is in full sun all day. But the under-gardener was correct: We did need more access to all four sides of it. I’d call that a draw.

While I was dawdling over the decision about which tree branches to cut, the sun reached the solstice and is on its return trip downward. If I delay a few more weeks, the Grow Camp may be in full sun again. Whether that happens soon enough for us to get ripe tomatoes is still an open question. Mistakes aside, this was a great investment and easy-care once it’s set up.

We did move some cedar trees out of the flowerbed and into the woods inside the deer fence, to screen traffic and traffic noise. We’ve already had to replace one that we lost to drought. We’ll need a lot more rain before it’s safe to move any more of them.

Propane screen with Blue Dune Rye Grass; foreground, Elijah Blue Fescue.

The propane screen. The ‘Lavender Lassie’ Climbing Rose, ‘Cassis’ Clematis, and ‘Big Blue’ Sea Holly that we planted in front of the propane screen took off like gangbusters right from the start and look really great. The ‘Blue Dune’ Wild Rye Grass has filled out both corners, providing just the right vertical accent. I keep an eye on those, even though they’re in sunken pots, just in case they start to really go wild. A critter seems to have carried off the purple tulips, but the ‘Purple Sensation’ Alliums did well. I’m really happy with this area because it looks exactly as I had envisioned it.

The under-gardener wanted a ‘Silver Mound’ Artemisia, which we worked in among the Lavender. It wasn’t doing well at first, but has recovered nicely. It makes a fine accent near the Lavender Garden steps.

Also out front. The "courtyard" seating area ferns are coming into their own this year, although it was touch-and-go during the drought. We didn’t have many irises this year due to erratic weather in the spring. With the deer exclosure finally complete, this is the first year we’ve seen what the iris foliage and ‘Elijah Blue’ Fescue Grass border looks like.

One of those projects that created itself this year, was a flight of stone steps on the east side of the house. After several months of watching me cautiously pick my way up and down the steep slope to the Grow Camp and the Rhododendron Garden, the under-gardener started slinging huge pieces of slate right and left. While there’s still a little left to do, the staircase was nearly completed in a single weekend.

Out back, a 65-inch bass windchime hangs from an old Wild Cherry tree that was severely damaged by last October’s early snow. We’ll enjoy it for the rest of the summer while we try to figure out how to remove the tree and re-hang the chime, which is already in the perfect spot.

The blue garden and the berm got ahead of me once again. The roses, shrubs, and perennials are doing all right on their own, but it will be tough grubbing out the weeds now that they’re established.

There’s plenty of maintenance and repairs to keep us busy for the rest of the season and I’m still hoping we can get the ‘bulb project’ along the driveway started before the snow flies.

You can purchase the Grow Camp or the 65-inch Corinthian Bells wind chime through my affiliate links:

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