Weekend Notes: Floral Fireworks, Lean on Me, and Gardener in the Rye
A Glorious Weekend. After whacking us around for the last couple months, Mother Nature decided to take it easy on us poor mortals for a few days. First we got some serious rain (finally) on Wednesday and Thursday. Then Friday was the kind of day summers should be made of: sunny, dry, warm but not hot. As luck would have it I took a vacation day that day and got to spend it in the garden.
The rest of the weekend was not bad. Humid, but “only” in the upper 80s. Tomorrow it’s supposed to go back up to 100 degrees. Well, it couldn’t last.
The other thing that made this a glorious weekend was the color in the garden. Now begins the time of year when there seems to be floral fireworks going off, in part because the tallest plants do seem to be blooming almost in the sky. The sweet joe pye weed and joe pye gateway have hit their stide, as have the Cup Plant. The ironweed is just barely starting though, and the downy sunflower has a week or two to go, so the summer show is by no means over.
Then of course, there is the scent of my ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies. We used to have a cat who would express contentment by lying down on the sidewalk and wriggling around. The fragrance of ‘Casa Blanca’ makes me want to do this, but I restrain myself because the neighbors think I’m odd enough as it is.
Lean on Me. Since it rained I have spent a lot of time staking. Given my love of really tall plants, I have no right to complain. If I don’t want to stake, I can just grow coreopsis ‘moonbeam’ and landscape roses or dwarf shrubs. Even so, I find myself getting irritated at some of the plants. “Stand up straight, for pete’s sake,” I scold, as if they are slouching children. I find that plain old twine is the best thing to use in staking, better (and much cheaper) than all the different fancy ties you can buy at the garden center.
I am pleased that some plants are doing a good job of holding each other up. My nepeta, for example, does a pretty good job of supporting the yarrow growing behind it, as well as the blue stem goldenrod, which in turn keeps the anise hyssop from flopping.
Gardener in the Rye. I might as well just tell you: I am through with wild rye as an ornamental grass. I tried to make it work. I tried Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus) and silky wild rye (E. villosus). Yes, I like the seed heads, but here’s the thing. It won’t stop flopping. OK, I don’t mind staking an 8′ Joe Pye weed, but a 3-4′ grass? I don’t think so. Also, it’s really hard to stake grasses in a way that doesn’t make them look like they’re wearing a corset. And did I mention that they seed themselves a bit too liberally?
I saw that Anton’s is selling switchgrass in gallon containers in a buy one, get one free sale. Might head over that way next week.