Thursday, July 2, 2020

Lily Time!

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying some beautiful summer days in your gardens -- I have been pretty busy in mine recently.

The weather is starting to get a bit hot and humid again, which shouldn't be a surprise, since it's summer in Iowa -- but it's time to turn the air conditioner back on again after a few weeks of cooler, rainy days.

But I've been using the cooler days (and a few hot ones too) to work outside to maintain and improve my garden areas -- some of which were looking pretty weedy and overgrown with grass in the last year or two. I've cleared a few areas entirely, and replanted other areas that I cleared last year (and the year before). Things are now starting to look a bit more under control.

The Pond Gardens are looking much improved this year, for the first time in several years. Two years ago I cleared them of the grass that had invaded them, installed a metal edging around the paving stones last year, and replanted them this year with annual petunias and dahlias, in addition to the roses and boxwoods that remained. This area has a well-kept, park-like feeling now (the two new benches helped with that too).

Here's another area that looks much better this year: behind my garage. This very long bed was completely infested with grass and weeds two years ago, so I cleared it and last year I planted a bunch of hostas that I moved and divided from another area (mostly from the Yellow Garden, so many of them are golden in color). This bed looks SO much better and is easier to maintain, now that the hostas have filled in to crowd out weeds.

Another area that is much improved this year is my new Tropical Garden around my patio. The plants have started to grow a bit since I planted them about a month ago. It won't look truly jungle-y for at least another month, but I'm pretty happy with it, and I've managed to keep it weeded and well maintained so far. (Please ignore the "project" waiting on the sidewalk at right....)

A closeup of the shady front border in the Tropical Garden -- complete with Jungle Cat snoozing among the tropical foliage. :-)

And this mock orange (Philadelphus) hedge is looking (and smelling) better than it ever has. I cut it down to half its height two years ago, and that has made the shrubs grow back much more thickly, and bloom heavier than the ever have before. The scent can be smelled across the yard.

Lily Show

The big current story is the lilies, though. The Asiatic lilies have been blooming for the past couple of weeks, and now the orien-pet lilies are are coming online too.

These Asiatics in the Paradise Garden look lovely in this pink shade.

These trumpet lilies (whose name I have lost) are blooming in the Paradise Garden too.

And these orien-pet lilies just opened today and have a wonderfully strong scent. They perfume the entire Paradise Garden -- and what should a Paradise Garden be, if not a scented garden? This evening  was magical outside after dusk.


But it's that time of year again: the cursed Japanese beetles have again invaded our gardens.

So up went The Big Net. This is the third year I've put it up, and I feel safer under it now that the buggers won't be able to chaw on my roses and mate to create even more of their horribleness. I wish I didn't have to put it up (it prevents the butterflies from flapping about in my garden -- at least until September, when they again have glorious free rein) but it's much better than the alternative:

Sorry to show you this hideousness, but it's important to realize just how horrible
the alternative is. This was two years ago  in early August, BBN (Before the
Big Net). Uggh.

Entering my Bedouin tent -- where roses can flourish freely all summer. Much better....

I hope you are able to enjoy magical evenings in your own gardens now that summer is truly here -- I can't believe that the 4th of July is already upon us. (I think this every year; the holiday always makes me feel a bit sad, as it marks the peak of summer, after which it's a long slide downward to the trough of January. 

But there are still many nice evenings ahead this summer and autumn for us to enjoy. Thanks for reading! -Beth