Three Days Off! The first Monday in August was deemed a civic holiday in most provinces many years ago and coming in mid-summer, it’s probably the most welcome long weekend of the year. Sunny and hot for the most part it should be; traditionally this is the busiest weekend of the year here in Prince Edward County – beaches are jammed, restaurants and markets are jammed, roads are jammed. In 2020, with Covid and international travel restrictions, our roads and beaches have been jammed every weekend this summer already, so no one is quite sure what to expect today and tomorrow. Locals are openly hostile since many tourists have behaved abominably, and even our mayor has posted video asking folks to stay away. This, from the mayor of a county where tourism has become the prime economic driver. It’s a strange year.
Mid summer means colourful blooms though, right? It also means drought and many sad, sad looking plants, but with a bit of cropping here and there I can make believe my yard is a lush paradise. Here then are six things in my garden today – if you’re interested, checkout The Propagator’s page – he’s hosting Sixes from all over the world.
Tiger Lily – Lilium lancifolium – this Asian beauty has naturalized in parts of North America, including in my back field, for some reason. I planted a few bulbils (the tiny black baby bulbs you can see in the leaf nodes) near the house a while ago and they are flowering for this first time this year.
Spider flower – Cleome – I started a bunch of purple and white ones from seed two years ago and saved seeds from the white ones. Last year everything I planted came up purple. I didn’t save seeds. This year quite a few have sprung up on their own, and lo and behold they’re purple AND white! Kinda neat eh? Warning – not only are the stems sticky but they’re also quite spiny: gloves required when cutting!
Canadian burnet – Sanguisorba canadensis – normally this sprawling wetlands perennial sends up flower spires four to five feet high. I don’t have a wetlands on the property, though, and this year they’re just over two feet high but hey, still looking good I think.
Every year something sprouts up in the compost heap – usually a melon or squash of some sort. And tomatoes. Here’s my entry in the 2020 Mystery Compost Volunteer competition:
One of the greatest joys for any gardener, I think, is when something beautiful and unexpected happens. An unanticipated but perfect colour combination. A bloom much larger (yet still sturdy and slug resistant) than the flower catalogue promised. Glorious volunteers popping up willy nilly – some where they are welcome, some not, and some in bizarre spots. Here are two of the latter: a Blanket flower (Gaillardia) appeared in the middle of a somewhat grassy, rocky area behind the house. We normally mow this section but with no rain the grass isn’t growing so haven’t touched it in a while. This purple Liatris showed up in the back yard swale (not far from the Blanket flower). Last year there were coneflowers here. So lovely.
Finally, Ratibida pinnata – known as Grey Headed coneflower, or Prairie Coneflower – is the most prolific self-seeder I’ve ever known. It likes moist soil so this year the flower stalks are a bit stunted (some are downright shriveled), but somehow their seeds get transported to the far reaches of our sprawling property. It’s kinda cool to see these spires of yellow swaying in the breeze.
Have a lovely and safe weekend everyone and, if I may, a question. Is anyone else experiencing difficulties uploading photos from your media library? I think there was an ‘upgrade’ recently and ever since, it sometimes takes me multiple attempts to insert a picture. And if that’s my biggest worry, I’m a lucky man!