Thursday, July 24, 2014

Midsummer Days

I haven't posted anything for the past couple of weeks because I've had some internet connection problems, but I think those are resolved now. Time for a summer update.

We've had a few hot days here in Iowa this week. This is the week for our county fair and it's been pretty sultry walking around the fairgrounds. My daughter won a blue ribbon for her chickens, though, and the Master Gardeners' display garden looks fabulous this year:

The Master Gardeners display garden looks really good this year -- it was a lush, peaceful oasis in which to relax in the midst of the crowds and noise of the Fair. I took more photos, but it was after 8:30 pm and the light was beginning to fail, so they were too blurry to post here. :-( They did have some areas that had certain themes, such as a Salsa Garden, a Smoothie Garden (plants that could be added to smoothies), a Vertical Garden, and a display of common weeds that are edible. I'm thinking of applying to the MG program this fall, so perhaps I will be able to help out with this garden in future years. 

There are plenty of midsummer blooms in my own gardens too. Here are a few shots from the past couple of weeks:

My Front Border, with phlox in bloom. I saw this phlox growing alongside my road and asked my husband to dig it out when we first moved here, so I don't know what variety it is. I call it my "ditch phlox," but I think it's kind of pretty.

A closeup of the center part of the Front Border, with cosmos, hollyhocks, coneflowers, speedwell and shasta daisies.

The patio area to the East of my house, with annuals and white phlox 'David' and white hollyhock.

The East side of my house, with annual daisies, 'Golden Celebration' and
'Happy Child' yellow David Austen roses (and some things in pots that
I still need to plant).

I redid this border on the north side of my garage this spring, digging in a large amount of compost to lighten up the wet clay soil in this area and moving and adding plants, and I think it's a great improvement over last year. Ligularia 'The Rocket', hostas, 'Multi-Blue' clematis, astilbes and impatiens are starting to fill in. The Hicks yew I planted several years ago is growing taller and I hope it will provide a much-needed vertical element here eventually.

Around the corner on the back of the garage, the daylilies I moved here in fall 2102 are finally starting to bloom well and fill in. I still need to plant something else here, but I'm not sure what to add for earlier interest in this area that only gets a few hours of sun each midday.

The Herb Garden is looking lushly herbal. 

The Kitchen Garden, with cutting flowers in front (and numerous self-seeded sunflowers).

My husband's cabbages, broccoli, onions and carrots coming up in the middle. I have nothing to do with these except buying seeds and sometimes starting them inside in the spring.

I couldn't resist adding a portrait of Little Kitty among the tomatoes.

Tomatoes, peppers, basil and annual flowers.

The Pond Gardens, looking out to the gazebo. 'Bright Eyes' phlox is blooming well this year.

A closeup of the phlox and the Buck 'Prairie Breeze' roses that are nearly finished with their initial flush of bloom.

The center part of the North Border. This border is only in its second year, so there are still some large gaps that I've been trying to work on filling in, but this portion looks OK.

My new Yellow Garden, with gold-leaved plants near the house.

It's nice to finally get a chance to rest a bit after so much planting in the spring and early summer, and to have time to take a look around and see how things are growing. I have no doubt I'll think of more projects for fall (including planting bulbs, which will start showing up in stores in only a few weeks!), but I'm now enjoying a well-deserved rest.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you're enjoying your own summer days! -Beth


  1. Your gardens are amazing, Beth! I love your design features - particularly thinking the patio garden is unique, and the herb garden is indeed lush and beautiful. Love the front border too. Looks like you have some interesting sunflowers planted too. Are you eating anything from the garden yet? We had green beans tonight - we've had them often. :) Are you familiar with The Gardens at Gazebo on the Green? There was an article on it in the DM Register recently and I've been following them on Facebook lately. They have 14 gardens and do teas and garden tours. Sounds like an amazing place.

    1. Hi Beth, Thanks so much for your very nice comments! We've been enjoying the cucumbers my son is growing and the chard and cabbages that Brian planted. No beans though, I'm sad to say -- I'm glad you're enjoying yours!

      I have been to the Gardens at the Gazebo on the Green, and they are pretty nice. If you are thinking about ever wanting to see it in person, I would come visit it this summer -- when I talked with the owner last year, it sounded like she was pretty burnt out and might be considering hanging up the trowel. I'd love to take you there to visit it if you're ever in this area. Thanks again for reading! -Beth

    2. Thanks, Beth! I'd love to see your gardens and also Gardens at the Gazebo on the Green. Perhaps the end of August or in September. Have a great weekend!

  2. Beth... I just wrote a lengthy comment and it disappeared when I signed in... have to remember that in the future... I don't have the time to rewrite now so I'll just say I'm very impressed with all your garden area... the layout is very exciting! Enjoy your gardening break... I'm off to chainsawing land... Larry

    1. Oh, pooh! I hate it when that happens -- very frustrating! I hope you will send me your comments in an email when you have time. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Work carefully with your chainsaw (those make me nervous, as necessary as they are for gardeners). Thanks for reading, Larry! -Beth

  3. Hello Beth. Glad you enjoyed the County Fair. Well done to your daughter for winning a prize for her chickens. I hope you get involved with the MG programme as I'm sure you have a lot to contribute. We haven't been to any of the big Garden Shows put on up and down England, but we watch from the comfort of the television. The designers' show gardens are always interesting and inspiring. As I've said before you have so much space on your land you have the opportunity to create various garden areas with special features. Your photos of the herb garden and the pond garden with the view of the gazebo in the background as well as the kitchen garden area caught my eye. Everything is progressing well and you must be pleased after so much hard work. There are always plans for planting for next year, but in the meantime I hope you can have a rest and really enjoy your garden this season.

    1. Hello, Linda -- thanks so much for reading, and for your very nice comments! I'm sure there are all kinds of huge garden shows going on in England that are within driving distance for you, not to mention world-class gardens open to the public -- I'm quite envious. This tiny patch at the Fair is the closest thing we have to a display garden around here, but it was nice to walk through it and see how well things were growing (much better than the same annuals and vegetables are growing in my own gardens!). I hope you likewise are enjoying your time with family and friends, as well as your own garden. Best Regards. -Beth