Mid-summer shift

Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani'

The gardens are going through a bittersweet transition from June’s hurrah to a mid-summer huzzah, and although we sometimes experience a “July gap,” the shift seems pretty seamless this year. Delicate oxeye daisies gave way almost overnight to beefy Shastas, echinaceas, and rudbeckias. Sturdy summer phlox are taking over, as we speak, for the elegance of roses. We’re ready, with a big sad sigh, to let go of early summer mascots like pansies and sweet peas — though the pansies are super troopers and show almost no sign of stopping — because zinnias and dahlias are poised (so soon!) for the spotlight. (Click on or hover over pictures below for captions. The above picture is of sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus ‘Cupani‘) in the Rose Garden. We’ll inhale their delicious fragrance for one more week…)

Phlox paniculata 'Katherine' in the North GardenDahlia 'Happy Single Princess' in the North GardenZinnia 'Queen Red Lime' in the Cutting GardenMid-summer combo of sea holly, persicaria, teasel, red-twig dogwood, butterfly weed, echinops, and Joe Pye in the pollinator bed

Our work in the gardens has shifted too. Although we did do a little planting and still have a few more things waiting to go in the ground and in containers, we spent most of this week and last getting into our summer maintenance* routine. *(To call what we do in the gardens “maintenance” makes the work sound a lot less fun than it is.) Three inches of rain between July 4th and Monday night gave us a reprieve from watering but triggered a growth spurt in the gardens, necessitating edits, mostly of the weedy sort — the gaura in the pollinator garden went a little nuts too, and staking. We raised the grids (sheets of concrete reinforcement mesh) we use to keep the bloom-heavy plants upright in the cutting garden and started placing pea stakes (apple tree branches from spring’s pruning) in the gardens to support dahlias and other leaners/floppers. I love how they do the job but totally disappear in the garden. The grids are more visible but pretty cool looking if you’re like me and don’t mind a little rusty and subtle symmetry in the garden.

Grids holding up amaranth, snaps and zinnias in the Cutting Garden

And work continues on the plant house addition. The gaping hole in the ground holds a foundation now and is being back-filled right this minute.

Plant house foundation

Is your garden going through a mid-summer shift too? Are you ready to let go of your favorite June blooms? What’s next?

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