Sunday, September 13, 2015

It's just a (September) garden in the rain...

It's exciting to be back working on a blog post after just two days. It's still a busy time, so this almost feels like cheating time away from other projects. But I'm about to start making my third cup of coffee; it has rained off and on most of the night and morning, providing gentle percussion for the background noises of life;  my friend Ralph (an absent minded professor if there ever was one) is on the air with a show playing some of the earliest recordings of  "Jass"; and to be quite frightfully honest, I don't mind ignoring catching up on cleaning, doing dishes, and organizing. As of last Sunday, I am 65. I'm retired. I no longer care that I've been on the drop and go lifestyle again and let things get to the point that I have to 'catch up' on the cleaning.

We've had rain a couple of times this week; we certainly needed it. It has been uncomfortably hot and humid again, but this current rain seems to have finally broken that pattern. With the improvement this has brought to the weather, last evening's sleep lasted over 8 hours. I'm normally a 6 hour sleeper; these last couple of weeks I've only managed about 4 to 5 hours in shifts of wakefulness versus slumber. The effects of this have been so pronounced that even in my dreams I don't sleep properly.

Late summer zinnias at Solar Hill
 The garden at this time of year becomes less of a dream and more of a mess. Between the heat, the humid heaviness in the air, and the intensity of the direct sun, I do not accomplish much after 10 or 11 am. I spend a bit of my morning garden time tending to the Solar Hill gardens as well as my own. Solar Hill's beds are a little more formal in style; weeds tend to show and distract. My own spot of alleged heaven is what I attempt to pass off as being in the cottage garden style, which (in my mind at least) is much more forgiving of weeds. After protracted dry spells, the rains startle the weeds into spurts of growth that are awe inspiring. I take some comfort in the thought that at least they fill in the empty patches left by plants which have already gone by for this season.  The rains have also made it difficult to work in the garden. Not just because everything is so wet, and not just because it is easier to pass plant diseases around as one brushes against them. My problem is that I like gardens in the rain, flowers bent over with drops of water as though Disney artists of the 30's had been turned loose in creation of Technicolor multiplane visions. I tend to stand around and stare.

An old variety of Morning Glory volunteered near the garden gate. I assisted them in finding their way up the fence and over to the arch of the garden's gate. Oh, by the way, that mess in the back, extending off to the left? That's my area. The dark purple of the old morning glories really captured my attention this year. There was a bit of  black eyed Susan intermingling with them,  but they have gone by. The effect was wonderful - I noticed several people stopping to take pictures.

The above was taken just a few weeks ago as the morning glories were getting started.

Meanwhile, back in the rainy mess of my area...

I like the older double white cosmos, which I start from seed as one never finds it at the garden centers anymore. It grows very tall, 7 feet or more, and when not staked, bends over easily in the rain or a wind. The red cosmos is darker than most varieties now available, also started from seed. But it isn't as proficient a bloomer.  Next year, I'll have to sow more of it.
It's been too hot to edge the beds. I tend to not stake my dahlias - I like the effect of them nodding over after wind and rain have gotten to them.

 I used to have a neighbor gardener who parked her plants across from my spot, and rarely got back to tend to them.
At this point, we haven't seen her for many years.  I've begun cleaning up her area so we can enjoy some f the treasures that were hidden by the weeds - like this charming late blooming daylily. It looks rather smashing against the wild Artemisia.
Meanwhile, the last bloom on any of my daylilies was caught by the sun peaking through the clouds.
I haven't had snow-on-the-mountain in my garden for many years. I've always liked it, and this year was delighted to see it appear in a seed catalogue which specializes in heirloom seeds . Of course I ordered it. Even though I don't have room or proper light to do so, I started it indoors during the last weeks of winter. With any luck I'll find where I put the seed packet so I can do it again next year in case it doesn't seed itself in.
Yes, it's a weedy overgrown mess. I just squint my eyes and tell myself it's Monet.

Last night's radio show observed a few birthdays of favorite performers - Dick Haymes, Bobby Short, Yma Sumac, and Mel Torme . The old Philco helped with those observances before tuning in September 1940, managing to catch bits of Burns and Allen, Beat the Band, The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, Refreshment Time With Singing Sam, and news bulletins (with Edward R. Murrow reporting from London) before settling on Glenn Miller's September 17th Moonlight Serenade from Providence, R.I.

As always, I hope any listeners enjoy the show.

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