Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mid-August Blooms

When I returned home from the river last evening, I immediately grabbed my camera and headed back outside. Time to see what's blooming in mid-August. Too late for an official Bloom Day post, but necessary for my personal record, since I missed the fifteenth.

The first thing I noticed was that I was being eaten alive. The rains over the last few weeks produced a lot of standing water. With the dry start to summer, I'd gotten out of the habit of checking for such things. Time to remedy that!

As I swatted my way around the yard, I found very little to make me smile. The coneflowers are looking peaked:

Black eyed susans continue to brighten the semi-shade in the upper garden:

But the ones in full sun out front have had enough.

The pinkish mums that came with the house are starting to bloom. Their lack of color disappoints me every year. Why do I still have these in my herb garden?

At lease my dahila, blown over in the big thunderstorm two weeks ago, is putting out new growth and new flowers:

Seed pods are adding interest in the upper garden:

On the left are ripening Asclepias tuberosa pods. The ones in the center have split open, letting the tufted seeds take to the wind. On the right the Baptisia pods continue to add purple color to the garden.

Also in the upper garden, my chelone has buds. It struggles all year with lack of water. I always wonder if it will have enough strength to bloom.

And out front, the white rose has come back for another round of blooms:

Around the north side, one of my hosta is flowering. I usually ignore hosta flowers, but these are quite large and such a pure white I actually enjoy them:

So maybe I did find a few things to smile about.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, whose monthly GBBD is the only reason my photo log is remotely up-to-date!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

River Blooms

I'm hanging out at the family cottage at the river for a nice relaxing long weekend, so I'm not home to see what's blooming on Bloom Day. I'd intended to snap some photos Friday before I skipped town, but I was running late and there was rain. So lets see if I can find anything here at the tip of the Middle Peninsula.

We come here to chill and enjoy the River. There is no garden and very little landscaping to speak of. No one person is here often enough to take on the responsibility. We get most of our color from sunsets, beach toys, and kayaks.

August is a rough month for blooms in this part of the country anyway, but in a place with no garden? A real stretch.

In the back yard are a bunch of crape myrtles, still blooming bright pink:

On the west side of the house is a reblooming daylily and the last of the spirea:

And on the east side, also almost finished, is the mimosa. Such a weed here, but when this thing is in full bloom you can barely see the flowers for the butterflies.

I wonder what's blooming at home?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Tree Grows in Virginia

Last fall I planted a young redbud (Cercis canadensis) in my parking strip, to replace and old double-flowering cherry that fell down the year before.

It survived Snowmaggeddon and Snowpocalypse. It flowered beautifully in the spring. It didn't care much for the hot, dry summer we've had, but soldiered on anyway. I love this tree.

Then we had that great thunderstorm last Thursday. The one where a big maple limb fell across my front yard and into the street.

Right on top of my redbud!

Can you see it in there? Let me point it out to you:

I did what I could to free the little tree. It looked like it was all still in one piece, hallelujah!

After the maple limb was removed, I could properly assess the damage. Nothing broken. I'll just have a "weeping" redbud for a while, until it straightens itself out.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Have you been dreaming of rain this summer? Bowing your head in a little prayer? Perhaps turning your eyes to the sky in anticipation? Me, too. And the heavens delivered, just not in the manner I would have preferred.

Two short but powerful storms rolled through on Thursday afternoon. Wind gusts at the high school less than ½ mile from home were recorded at 73 mph. I was at work beyond the reach of the storm, but heard news reports that my neighborhood was badly damaged. What would I find when I got home? Would my 40-50 ft maple in the front yard (the one that loses a branch in nearly every storm) still be standing? Would my house be unscathed? Note that I didn’t ask myself if I’d have power. I knew that was a near impossibility.

I arrived home Thursday night to have my questions answered:

Whew! The tree is still standing. About a quarter of it came down, but luckily fell to the east (into the road) rather than a more damaging direction. The house was safe! Road crews had already cleared the road, and piled the branches onto the sidewalk; I just had the bulky part to deal with. (And no, I didn’t have power. The whole neighborhood was dark)

By the time I got home from work on Friday, there were no fewer than six cards from tree services (and random guys with a chainsaw and a truck) stuck in my door. And more guys in trucks cruising the streets. So cleanup was easy, if costly. Still no power.

Friday and Saturday evenings I walked around the neighborhood to see how others fared. I consider myself very lucky. Here was the scene just one street over:

Ouch! Fortunately the tree fell just behind the neighbor’s house, wiping out the back deck, but doing only minor damage to the roof.

Three doors down, the scene was repeated, but without the car in the driveway.

Two blocks away, another lucky house. I count at least three trees in the front yard, nearly obscuring the house, but none on the house:

Another view, showing downed power lines:

I returned to this house on Saturday, to see cleanup nearly completed:

Continuing down the hill:
There are two condo buildings that face each other, separated by a courtyard. They were very lucky.

The next building was not so lucky:

That’s a lot of wood to chip!

On Saturday afternoon, 48 hours after the storm, neighborhood streets still looked like this:

No wonder I still had no power.

Thursday night it was pretty cool after the storm, so I didn’t mind having no AC or fans. By Friday night I had to retreat to the basement to stay cool enough to sleep. Saturday was worse. I had many offers of places to stay, and decided to take one friend up on the offer of dinner and a spare bedroom. Shortly after ten pm I made a call to my house, and was greeted with the sweet sound of my answering machine. Power! Thanks for the hospitality, but I’m heading home to sleep in my own bed.

Now it is Monday, and the sounds of trucks and chain saws still fill the air.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Leaving the Garden

I left the garden to fend for itself for a while and headed to the river. Beautiful weather and a relaxing long weekend.

(photo courtesy nutmegholler)

I picked a bunch of cucumbers right before I left and had more waiting for my return.

At the cottage, I served some of the fruits of my garden. Dishes included roasted kale chips and gazpacho.