Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Late Summer Garden

Only one more week of August to go. .I don't ever remember being so eager for fall to arrive. This month has certainly been cooler than the previous two, but this week temps are expected to be well over 100 degrees again. We are only a couple days from breaking some heat records (like the most days over 100 in a million years. .maybe not a million. .it just feels that way! I actually think the record is a bit above 50 days) I have been nothing short of amazed though at how quickly the garden has responded to the cooler weather and the little bits of rain. Wanted to catch ya up. .Come on!
The fish are growing by leaps and bounds. The water is slowly clearing, so only the bottom is cloudy. I can hardly wait until I can count the fish. .seems that, as my girlfriend says, there is some "free love" going on in the murky depths. We have seen baby red goldfish, baby goldfish mixed with black (likely coming from my black googly-eyed gold fish I bought last May), and some babies that we aren't even sure what they are. .but they have voracious appetites. Hmm! I couldn't get a good shot of the yellow koi, but it is HUGE! And we are loving it!!
The pond has matured greatly this summer, and the plants are looking a little hot, but I expect that to improve as the temps continue to fall. We really have loved this pond since it's arrival! In more ways than I can even begin to describe!
I think I showed a picture of the annual red salvia earlier, but it is just so darn pretty. The four plants that I put in last May have finally taken off, and they are just gorgeous. I am thinking about looking into a periennial red salvia. .if anyone has good advice on it, let me know!
You'll notice that the pastures are greener than the last picture I posted. I thank God everytime I look across for the moisture and the appearance of life.
The Denver daisies are still short, but blooming. These blooms are more orangy than the yellow that they were earlier. I did get some seed heads harvested, but then someone closed the ziplock bag and they molded. .I'll start over! I found that you can get a LOT of seed from one little dried up head! I have not typically been a seed saver, and this is a new process for me! I'll get it!
The caryopteris are blooming, nearly a month behind when they did last year. Cami and I have been disappointed in how few winged creatures are on them. .NONE of the big black and yellow bees that usually swarm it by the hundreds. But we are starting to see a regular showing of big, beautiful butterflies!
Mixed in with the sunflowers is a red cardinal vine or cypress vine. I was tickled to have gotten this to sprout and grow in the heat. It is clamouring over an old bedframe that I moved from another part of the yard last spring.
It is also encouraging to see new growth on some of the bushes. This burning bush was really starting to look scorched. .a lack of water on my part probably. There is a new flush of that wonderful "new leaf green" going on now-can you see the difference? And not just on the burning bushes, but also on the spirea bushes, which also have a few confused blooms right now.
Speaking of reblooming, this orange butterfly weed has rebloomed too. Something (be it grasshoppers or monarch catepillars. .which I never saw) mowed it to the ground after the first bloom in June. I was amazed to see it shoot back up from the ground and bloom again. This is a 3 year old plant I think. .so maybe that is the normal procedure. .time will tell.
These plants came out of one of my weak OCD moments in LATE JUNE. .knowing full well that it hadn't rained, and it was too darn hot. .I picked up three of these threadleaf coreopsis plants at a nursery and planted them. They wilted for a couple days to weeks, and have been going strong ever since. I LOVE the bright blooms and the airy foliage!
I am forever seeing beautiful rudbeckia on everyone else's blogs. .but these plants that I seeded last year, which reseeded themselves this year look pathetic!! I can't remember now if they are hirta or goldsturn variety. .but they have one spindly little stem and a few smallish, though very pretty blooms. They need a blessing for sure! But color is color. .and beggars can't be choosers!!
The butterfly bushes are blooming now, and are being frequented by the monarchs. .which seem to be increasing in numbers here.
I have also seen this little critter, which I had to get out my butterfly handbook to ID
It's a painted lady, and there seem to be several of those around too. .I don't ever recall seeing those in my garden, so maybe I have something that it likes to eat!
We finally had enough moisture to build up our stand of weeds tall enough that the boys needed to mow. I was amazed to see how much bare dirt is visible in my back yard. YIKES! I've never been much of a grass grower (though not from lack of trying) but really!! WOW!
The front garden is filling in a bit too. There are some zinnias and sunflowers in there, and the pencil spruce trees are faring the heat well, though not as vibrantly colored as the spruce below.
The zuni's are getting bigger and brighter every day!!
The xeric Russian garden is even suffering. The sage FINALLY started blooming, and is about 1/2 the size that it was last year. The coronation gold yarrow behind it has been looking really dead for a month or so, and I was soooo glad to see some green growth at the base of it again the other day. I was worried that they were goners. There are two Texas red yucca plants back there doing well. .I think they are rooted enough now that nothing will hurt them. I can't wait for them to bloom. .they are very long lasting red blooms sticking up 3-4 feet above the plants. All the agastache plants have died there. .not sure why, or how to rectify that if I order them again some day.
Check out what the grasshopper did to my red honeysuckle bush. .They were very hungry!! Little devils!
Growth is coming back on them too, but I would doubt to see any more blooms again this year. .maybe this winter :-) I believe it was about last February when I posted some of the crazy little blooms deep inside the plant!
This was my exciting gardening adventure of the week!! I found that the nursery in Oklahoma where I work had some blue atlas cedar trees. I have been having a love affair with the ones I have seen for a few years now. I saw some mature ones at Grand Lake while we were gone that made the decision for me to find a spot to put one!
I toted this one home last week, and have been loving it ever since. Isn't he adorable?? I can now visualize a couple boulders to the left of the tree (or on the east side as you view it from the back door). .I am also thinking, split rail fence with grasses, sunflowers, cosmos, and some periennials. Jeremy is back to shaking his head. The finches have been perching on that stand of self seeded sunflowers, eating the seeds out of them. I decided that I really need to find a place to put a small stand of sunflowers, but somewhere different than where they are now. Along a fence next to the driveway would be perfect!
I haven't been sure that the green envy zinnias would make a repeat showing in the garden. .but they have really filled out and look prettier since the cooler weather. .believe they will be back next year. If I figure out the seed saving thing. .maybe I can plant them from these!
And, I just had to include this picture of snow on the mountain. It is a wildflower here, and is really pretty. The blooms aren't much, but the variegated foliage at the top is just fantastic! I took this photo by grandpa's pond last weekend, and then looked it up in my wildflower handbook to ID it. Amazing how lovely these flowers are and how numerous despite the lack of rain. .they must be well suited to it, cause you would never know that they were in a drought!
We have enjoyed a couple of overcast days. I sat outside ALL afternoon on Sunday. I just moved from bench to bench around the yard. .reading and looking. Jeremy had fired up his smoker and also fixed a cobbler in his Dutch oven. .between the great outdoors and the smell of smoke. .it was pretty near heaven to me!
Enjoy your week!!
Thanks for joining me on the garden walk-about!


  1. I was just going to take my fish to the horse tank when it got cooler, but after seeing your fish, I think they'd be much happier there. Would you like 2 regular goldies and Goth Fish?

  2. What, are you trying to help my "anything goes" population?? Would love to store 'em for the winter. .but only if you promise we can catch 'em for your water garden next spring!!

  3. Things are looking more colorful in your garden. The fish population is awesome. Jealous of your red salvia. None of mine sprouted. Sigh. My butterfly bush is just starting to bloom. I can't believe how the hoppers cleaned off your honeysuckle vine. Wow. As for seed saving, Sometimes, I put large flower heads (like zinnias) in a plastic plant container from the nursery as it has holes on the sides a little for air but they won't fall through. Then, just set them somewhere dry and out of the way. I usually leave mine in the garage a week or two to make sure all the bugs crawl out before bringing them in the house.

  4. Well, considering your temps, the flowers are doing well! I have no clue how you can stand that heat.
    Love the Caryoptis--I ordered one last year, but it didn't survive the winter here. I'm not going to try it again--guess I'll have to just enjoy seeing yours.

  5. I am always impressed with how much you have growing around your yard. I am so surprised that anything even survived in the heat that you guys got this summer! Also, I can't believe you guys are supposed to get another week of 100 degrees...I feel so bad for you!! Our temps have really come down. Today probably got to about 82 degrees, but the last two mornings I have woken up to 45 degrees! It feels awesome!!
    By the way, love all the fish in your pond...that is soooo cool!

  6. Thanks for sharing the photos! I really like your pond. :) That just HAS to be a blast to see what-all goes on in and around it! And I really like the new cedar tree, too, hope it does well! BTW, the yards around here are starting to green up after a few rains. :) All I have going now are Morning Glories (outside) and an African Violet (inside), but hey, they're green and alive! LOL

  7. Hmmmm....yes. I am envisioning big meaty yellow fish like your Koi, with fantails, streaks of black/gold, with googly eyes and capped, with lipstick, like Goth Fish. ;) I bet NO one would have fish like yours!! Perhaps you can slap a $100 price tag on the and call them "Free Loves"

  8. I'm impressed by how well your plants look considering you've been living in a toaster oven all summer. And I love your pond. What will you do with the fish this winter? Do they stay outside in the pond?