Oh, the rain!
Typically, our area receives about 3.7 inches of rain in June and 3.8 inches of rain in July, for a total of approximately 7.5 inches over the two months. This year, we received 8.4 inches of rain in June and so far, over 8 inches in July, for a total of 16 inches in just one-and-a-half months, with half a month left to go. The sky is grey, the rain is falling as I type (just as it was when I wrote the June Bloom Days post), and we have a tornado watch today, a new twist! (er)
Needless to say, plants that like dry soil, well-drained soil, and/or sun are not thriving, and that includes most of the veggies; and plants that like water-logged, soggy soil and unlimited amounts of rain are pleased as punch. Even the plants that have survived, like peas and berries, are not as sweet and tasty as usual, due to lack of sun and oversaturation of water.
The average high temp here from mid-June to mid-July was 76.4°F and the average low was 59.8°F. The highest high was 89.4°F on 7 July, and the lowest low was 47.8°F on 22 June.
Now, on to the blooms.
Peonies were the story in June. Someone else planted them years ago and over time I’ve managed to move a few plants into enough sun that they bloom. About half of the plants have never bloomed in the 14 years we’ve lived here because they are still in too much shade, edged out by massive rhododendrons, also planted by others pre-us.
Geraniums have started their season. ‘Rozanne’, whose blooms I thought were frozen earlier in the year, is flowering as prolifically as usual, just a couple of weeks later (top row). I’m not sure what the other varieties are.
The various milkweeds — Asclepias tuberosa – orange butterfly weed; A. syriaca – pink common milkweed; and A. incarnata – swamp milkweed, in this case a white ‘Ice Ballet’ variety — are all blooming now and attracting many insects, though we’ve seen only one monarch butterfly in the yard so far.
Bee Balm (Monarda sp), one patch scarlet red (M. didyma, I think) and another patch more maroonish, plus a very pink one given to me by a friend last year (‘Leading Lady Pink’), are just getting going. I planted three Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) last year but they’re not doing much yet.
The ‘Blue Ribbons’ bush clematis is finished and fuzzy now. Its blooms are an unusual indigo shade and an interesting shape.
Echinacea, which are planted everywhere in the yard, are just starting to bloom.
Single orange daylilies, planted by others before us along the driveway, are really amped up this summer. They started with two blooms on 2 July, then three blooms for a couple of days, seven, three, forty-one, 104, 111, 118, 82, 95, 132, 102, 118 again, and today, 150! Lots of buds still on the plants.
I enjoy seeing the various kinds of thyme blooming along the front walkway.
A few others in the front yard, including a dianthus from a friend a year or two ago, the annual gazanias, campanulas that came with gifted autumn crocus several years ago, and some red clover that insinuated itself.
SIDE YARD & VEGETABLE GARDEN
There’s quite a lot happening in the side yard these days, though the vegetable garden is languishing in the perpetual unrelenting rains. Shelling peas are done, arugula is thinking about producing a third small harvest (I should do succession planting where the peas were), kale is fending off slugs, scarlet runner beans and basil fell in the slug onslaught, parsley is holding its own, and garlic — the main crop — will be ready to harvest soon. Tomatoes are off to a slow start, except the one Sungold I’ve got, and that was an accident at the nursery. Mostly it’s a flower show in the vegetable garden, including volunteer calendulas and two petunias from a friend that successfully staved off the slugs.
The crocosmia (‘Lucifer’) pops up all over but concentrates its attentions on the vegetable garden, surrounding the one and only Buddleia (‘Ellen’s Blue’) that’s survived more than two years in the yard (in fact, this is its 10th year) and which is all leaves right now (hopefully it will bloom as usual in mid-August), along with prolific and rampant feverfew, a hydrangea whose leaves look great but which almost never blooms, some newly planted native Gaillardia (blanket flower), several clumps of Russian sage (Perovskia) that’s not happy with its lot in life, a giant mound of winter thyme that’s not blooming but looks very lush, two borage plants (one of which fell over in the mud last week), and so on.
As for the side yard, it’s very overgrown and what I thought was Intensia Neon Pink phlox, because that’s what its label said when I bought it from a town plant sale in 2013, is likely something else and I’ve become suspicious of the ‘Anita Kistler’ phlox as well. Compound white flowerheads: Elderberry has about finished blooming and will be working on berries soon; valerian is nearly seven feet tall, also almost finished blooming, its flower very similar to elderberry’s but medicinally quite different. Blueberries are happening! Which means the bear will be visiting this week. Nasturtiums, cheery on the rainiest of days; and evening primrose brighten a shady side yard spot. In June, we were graced with a few red roses (planted by previous owners).
The back yard is a late summer production; veronicastrum and Joe Pye weed are just gathering their energy. But there are a few bits and bobs to admire now, including yarrows, daisies that grow anywhere (mostly lawn and patio), an angelica, some purple salvia, lavender, comfrey, sedum (‘Spirit’ which spreads far and wide), a masterwort (Astrantia) just starting to shimmer, and both penstemons and filipendulas starting their spree.
Even more sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) than in June.
And some “weeds,” such as Queen Anne’s lace and mullein.
Soon the sneezeweed and woodland sunflowers (look over mullein’s shoulder), both of them tall and yellow, will take over. It looks a bit barren right now, without peaches.
I’m waiting impatiently for the Clethra (summersweet) to bloom but whilst it considers the lilies, including a double orange (that someone else planted), there are a few blooms and nuts-to-be to share: fleabane, Bowman’s root, hawkweed, tulip poplar tree flowers, and a hazelnut shrub filled with nascent nuts.
The shade garden is busy and haphazard. Filipendulas, white and rubra, are about to flourish, while hostas and astilbes are in the midst of flowering, the ‘Golden Leopard’ tricyrtis (toad lily) just finishing its reign, and dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) goes on and on. Coming soon: Elecampane (horseheal).
See you next month, I hope, for Summersweet ‘Ruby Spice’, Elecampane, sneezeweed, woodland sunflower, Joe Pye weed, Veronicastrum (culver root), Kirengeshoma (yellow waxbells), cardinal flower and great blue Lobelia, more Phlox, Buddleia, gentian, Echinacea galore, PG Hydrangea, Sedum, Echinops (globe thistle), Chelone (turtlehead), and who knows what else.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. (She’s in USDA hardiness zone 6a in Indiana and I’m in zone 5a in New Hampshire.)