August 2012

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day August 2012

Low production of tomatoes this year. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Gardeners are nothing if not full of hope.

We hope the seeds sprout.

We hope a struggling plant starts to do better.

We hope a plant blooms like it’s supposed to do.

We hope to harvest a lot of vegetables and fruit.

Tobacco mosaic virus on flowering tobacco plants. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

We hope plants don’t get any disease.

We hope bulbs planted in fall bloom in spring.

We hope to stay on top of the weeding.

We hope the insects won’t be too bad.

We hope it warms up a bit.

We hope it stops raining.

We hope it cools down a bit.

We hope to stay on top of the watering.

We hope we get some rain.

There’s no doubt that the excessively hot and dry weather has taken a toll on the blooms in this blogger’s garden.

What did bloom quickly faded in the weeks of 90 and 100-degree days with no hint of rain for nearly two months. In the last two weeks, though, I’ve received about 3 inches, for which I, my plants and wildlife are grateful.

Double Play Gold spirea. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

To me, the story or lesson from this year’s challenges in the garden are the plants that continued to thrive. I’m working on an article about this topic…for instance, which hostas, side by side held up and which ones melted?

Meantime, here’s a virtual visit to my garden this August, albeit brief because there’s not a lot of show.

The flowering tobacco just keeps on going. I have two types — Nicotiana alata and N. sylvestris, each self sown, coming back year after year. This year, though, I think a bit of tobacco mosaic virus has attacked the plants, probably because they come back in the same place each year. They are close enough to my tomatoes to pull out the flowers, although I really hate to do that since they have been consistently blooming all summer.

Speaking of tomatoes, no virus, but very few ‘maters on the plants. The Early Girl has one, count it, one, and it’s as green as a green tomato can be. My Cherokee Purple tomato has about six small ones and they are only now starting to red up. Looking at this photo, though, makes me wonder if I got the tags mixed up (only two plants, for crying out loud), or the Cherokee Purple was mis-marked.

Yet, I know gardeners all over the area are harvesting tomatoes, peppers and squash by the bushels. I’ve been telling myself what I tell others…this is not a good year to judge your success or failure in the garden, especially the ‘things didn’t go as I planned’ evaluations.

I’m in love with spireas, which seem to have gone through this summer unfazed, except for a few dead branches, with only minimal watering. Shining with a bit more attention is Double Play Gold and Double Play Artist, two reblooming dwarf spireas (Spiraea japonica) from Proven Winners/ColorChoice plants. They both have pink flowers that bloom off and on all summer (this is the first summer in the landscape). Gold’s new leaves have a goldish hue and the foliage on Artist tends toward blue. The only get about 2 feet tall and wide and they have been reblooming even though I’ve been derelict in my deadheading duties. They are hardy to USDA Zone 4.

Chalky Blue Fingers (Senecio), a tender succulent, and 'Blue Bombshell' a winter hard blue fescue. (C) jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

I’ve also enjoyed ‘Chalky Blue Fingers’ (Senecio) and ‘Blue Bombshell’ (Festuca) from Hort Couture plants. I haven’t grown a succulent before and now I’m trying to figure out how to winter it over for next year. The fescue is winter hardy here, so I may transplant it to a spot in the landscape. The blue will be a cool reminder of the summer that was full of hope.

We hope to have something to write about for the next Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

(Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day appears on the 15th of each month on blogs throughout the world. Started by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens, more than 100 bloggers post what’s happening in their garden each month. We hope you will join us.)