I think I’ve mentioned a few times that we’ve had more rain than normal this summer. Well, that was July, this is August. If humidity could translate into groundwater we’d all be wearing gumboots every day! Still, the garden is looking better than ever and every day I marvel at how colourful it all is. Here’s my contribution to The Propagator’s Six on Saturday this week – six things from your garden, with a brief description.
First up is this sunflower – Ruby Eclipse. I planted two seeds in late spring and they’re just starting to bloom now. This one is in the raised bed I use to grow garlic and spinach (now both pulled, with a second sowing of lettuce in their place), so it’s had regular watering with not too much trouble from earwigs. I love this colour but I hesitated when looking through the seed catalogues. It’s a pollenless hybrid, you see, which means it’s great as a cutting flower (no pollen falling onto the table) but not that useful for bees. It produces nectar (good for butterflies) but bees want both nectar and pollen. Also, since I have no other, regular, sunflowers growing, I won’t get any seeds from this one. Sorry birds! (If you’re interested in how pollenless sunflowers came to be, here‘s a great article.)
Next in my colour arcade and newly blooming are a few dahlias. I have four growing in the cutting garden and, miraculously, the bugs and critters have, for the most part, left them alone. The one I have in a raised bed, on the other hand, has been mercilessly attached by earwigs. You’ll see immediately which one I’m talking about! Three more varieties yet to bloom…
Back to the kitchen garden, this time for some mint. Peppermint, that is, and, more specifically, Peppermint Stick chard, with its gorgeous (and delicious) striped stalks.
In June I planted a late order of lilies. Thrilled that one of these trumpets , although short, developed five huge buds, two in bloom today. I love the deep red near the centre – it’s like a painter had an almost dry brush and lightly swiped the inside of each petal. This is Trumpet Lily ‘Beijing Moon:’
The colours of my garden right now are purple (from masses of Echinacea) and orangey-yellow, from the Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans) that’s now in full swing show-off mode. I have both R. Hirta and R. fulgida. They look similar, and each has many cultivars. They both tend to easily self-seed wherever they want. Here’s one patch of mainly R. fulgida which, thanks to the July rains, is looking better than ever:
I, like many gardeners, I bet, find the best part of the gardening experience is observing, with joy and wonderment, how other creatures, big or small, fit into the ecosystems I create.
There’s a family of hummingbirds nesting somewhere in my garden; they buzz me constantly when I’m out, and I watch them from a bit of distance, dipping their beaks into so many of the flowers I’ve planted, then, miraculously, alighting to rest on a small branch of the tree I planted. There are tree frogs in the wood pile, toads in the dirt and huge green frogs in any patch of long grass – they create quite a cacophony as the sun goes down and well into the night. And the bees! SO many types of bees! Canada has 800 different native bees, 400 in Ontario! My final colourful garden photo is Agastache ‘Licorice Blue.’ A true pollinator magnet, I started seeds three years ago, and they’ve taken a firm hold in the garden. Luckily, seedlings can be easily pulled if not wanted where they show up. Honestly, the flowers are much bluer than this photo, taken early in the morning, shows. It’s my tribute to the bumble bee. Have a great weekend everyone!