Thursday, July 10, 2008

After the rain

Like many people in the East, we Virginians have been waiting for rain. Early this week, it came with a vengeance--glorious thunderstorms drenched the garden (ok, producing as well a little hail, a lot of wind, a few hours without power, and poor Ranunculus terrified). I love the property after a rain. We always have to check for downed limbs (or trees), but then it's back to the garden for some of my favorite things--a little staking, some gentle weeding, a morning among the flowers.

These lilies were already staked, but they got so heavy that they pulled the stake (a bit of bamboo) out of the ground. Another instance of deer cages to the rescue--the cage provided enough support that the stems didn't break. I'm not much good at staking, actually--I prop the things that really need it (lilies, a transplanted sapling, my yucca in full bloom), but normally I'd rather move a plant than stake it. Case in point: shasta daisy in full sun can handle incredible winds, but give them a little too much shade and they're all over the ground--so if they flop, I wait until fall and find them more sun. Anyway, I wasn't careful enough with these lilies, but no harm done. In fact, jostling them as I restaked released their almost excessively intense fragrance.

We found the first beauty berry blossom (callicarpa americana), maybe coaxed out by the rain? These are natives and grow wild all over the property. They're unexceptional until the purple berries form in the autumn; I use them as "walls" defining parts of the garden because their bright green leaves provide a nice backdrop for more colorful plants, and they shade tender plants very nicely. I've heard people call them invasive, but I've never found them to be; if they took over where the weeds are growing in the back, I'd be delighted.

So here are the weeds, in the back beyond the gardens. Little pines crop up, as well as sprouts from the stumps where the big trees fell, but generally we have acres of some pretty noxious grasses asserting themselves. This is the way the back looks as we see it from the house.
Still, the destroyed woods have their own kind of beauty, even where the broken trees still loom:

So where was I going with this? Oh, yes--this rain storm was noisy but nice--the gardens were well watered, and there were only a few small limbs down. Ranunculus is still recovering (the dishwasher sent him under the coffee table this afternoon), but overall, the rain was a good thing.

The daisies and coneflower and gaura loved it; so did the daylilies and the abelia.

It brought a few weeds up in the beds, but just a few, easy enough to pull out while the ground is wet. So I just wandered today. The work out front will get done soon enough.


Gail said...

What a lovely was a sweet tour in your garden! I noticed the callicarpa is flowering, too...such a sweet shrub. I would love to see your garden rooms with the green backdrop.


Quercus said...

Cosmo, I enjoyed the post. We certainly neeeded the rain. My ferns are dried to a crisp. By the way, I signed up for a blogger account (Quercus' Garden). Can you come over sometime and help me figure out how to do it?

Cosmo said...

Hi, Quercus--anytime. By the way, check out "The Transitional Gardener's" latest post--want to make a trip down to Raleigh soon?

Roses and Lilacs said...

Your lilies are beautiful. I have some like them just beginning to bloom.

What a pretty setting your have. I love the pathway between the tall plantings.

Rose said...

Enjoyed taking a tour of your garden--yes, even the weeds!

Thanks for stopping by. To answer a couple of your questions, we live on a farm, with about 5 or 6 acres of lawn. I've been converting just a very small bit of it into a garden:) As to your question about the yarrow, yes, it spreads a lot, but I have it in confined areas and dig up overgrowth each spring. You could transplant yours out in the uncultivated area; that's kind of what I have been doing.

Phillip said...

I wish I could get some of that rain - after a promising start in the spring, it has been very dry since June. Your garden looks wonderful.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lovely post... I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who's a bit lax about staking. I think to do it here or there... or not. :)

Ranunculus is a cutie. So sorry he doesn't deal well with the storms, though.

Cosmo said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone--I'm so glad I've discovered blogging--I'm learning so much.

I see about 10 new posts on "Bloom Day"--what's that?

Randy and Jamie said...

What a wonderful trip thru your garden. This past Sunday it came such a down pour half the mulch ended up entangled in the lawn. I was wading around in ankle deep water trying to figure out how to improve the drainage.

Anonymous said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.