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The Game Called Gardening

Today was blessed with blue skies, pleasant temperatures, and low humidity.

Around the garden, foliage is lush and late summer flowers are blooming, though some plants are already preparing for dormancy. Dogwood berries are turning red. Hydrangea blooms are beginning to dry.Top: 'Cherokee Chief' dogwood. 2nd row: Variegated artemesia ' Oriental Limelight' is blooming; Hydrangea 'Limelight'. Third Row: Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'; Glossy Abelia . Bottom: Bees love Caryopteris, also called Blue Mist Shrub.Nevertheless, the woodlands are still green and are luminous when golden lights shine through them. Late afternoon is a magical time to be in the garden.

It was a great day to spend on the patio, resting my sore muscles upon the chaise lounge while watching hummingbirds and butterflies.

My muscles are sore because two days ago I transplanted four hostas, four heucheras, three holly bushes, and one very large snowball viburnum. Oh, and also one hydrangea. Then I planted nine new shrubs — including azaleas, gardenias, and upright boxwoods — watered everything well and then put a fresh layer of pine straw around all of it. I haven't quite recovered. But September starts our best planting/transplanting season, and already I have a new list of to-do items, scheduled for my next couple of off days. 

The fact is I am never satisfied and am always striving to make my garden meet the visions in my head. The weather, the plants, the critters, and the budget don't always cooperate, but that is the challenge that makes the game fun.

Speaking of critters, I have a new opponent, who sneaks around at night, digging in my garden beds, often uprooting small plants. I suspected but wasn't sure who the culprit was, until he left his muddy paw prints across my patio, coming straight from new holes dug next to recently planted verbena:

Lou, who knows his animal prints, informs me it is a raccoon. 

Another, more welcome critter, is a dragonfly. We don't have a pond, so I was thrilled to see a newly emerged dragonfly, resting on a log while he was still drying.

We have a had a lot of rain the last couple of months, so maybe there is water in the creek bed at the bottom of the valley behind our house. Usually it is dry, but sometimes it does get some water in it. I think that is where the dragonflies are coming from.

Plentiful rain has also brought lots of mushrooms, including a dark, warty one I have never seen before:

If I hurry, I may get back outside to enjoy some more of this beautiful day and to plan my next move in this game called gardening. I hope you are having some nice weather, too!


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Reader Comments (18)

I am just in the process of doing what you did, digging new garden beds, planting dozens of plants, watering mulching, i thought i'd do it all at once and get it out of the way. Then i have to spend the next week recovering.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Your late summer garden is looking delightful. The woodland does look quite magical with the setting sun's rays glowing through it. It sounds like you've been very, very busy and making the most of your lovely weather.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBernieh

You've been very busy lately but it's all going to be worth it and you'll reap the rewards next year :) I agree, no gardener is ever truly satisfied. A wonderful early autumn tour of your fab garden Debs!

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Indeed, your garden looks magical in that late-afternoon September light. Good luck on getting the garden to match the vision in your head. If ever you do, please let me know how you achieved such an awesome feat. Enjoy the quest.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

You property looks heavenly in that light. I think this time of year offers the moat beautiful lighting conditions for the garden and the photographs of it - especially woodland gardens. It is the time of year too we are out in the garden the most I think too. So much to do to prepare for when the plants and critters take a long winter snooze. But not your raccoon, he will be back. I had one in Pennsylvania that visited nightly all year. The black saddleback dragonfly is a nice photo. Do you see more of this year than before? There are many up here this year.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Deb - you did what I have to do - but laziness on my part and extreme heat here still make for great excuses not to transplant, buy, plant new, etc. Your place looks lovely however and has given me inspiration!! Take a well-deserved rest and enjoy fall as it starts creeping up on us!

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I imagine a raccoon can do a lot of damage! Wildlife is lovely but as you say sometimes they are our opponents are very tough. One of those muchrooms looks like a boletus edulis at first glance, do you eat them? or just admire their beauty. Don't work too hard, there's still a lot for time for autumn planting. Christina

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You have such a lovely garden. Lots of work, I know, but always rewarding. Jeannine

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

I have a plant moving list which I plan to start at the beginning of October so no doubt I will equally exhausted then

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

You've reminded me that I need to move some shrubs that have just got far too big with all our rain. Now would be a good time to move them, thanks for the reminder. You have certainly been busy and your woodland is looking beautiful in the September sunshine.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I love how the garden continually changes. I need to do some transplanting, too. It's true we are always striving to perfect our gardens - and to make them match that perfect (and probably impossible) picture we have in our minds.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Your garden is perfect Deb. And your photographs of your garden are always delightful. Most people will say that there is nothing to improve. But we gardeners know that a garden is never finished. That’s the joy of gardening.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Deb - as always, your gardens are 'enchanted'! I envision epic authors, sitting in one of your gardens - inspired by their surroundings and writing prolific novels...

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

I'm tired just reading all you did, no wonder you are tired! Please, go right ahead and rest on the patio. The golden light that plays over my home at sunset is so special to me. Like you, I feel compelled to capture it!

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Enjoyed the tour of your garden, Deb. Like you, I am constantly trying to make my garden match the vision in my head. That vision sure keeps me busy.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Your mushrooms are as spectacular as the rest of the garden...those rascals that thwart our efforts can be frustrating...I hope to have sore muscles soon as I can finally get back in the garden with the heat and drought breaking a bit...

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Our gardens are ever evolving and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am constantly re-engineering my garden plan for "next year"...... Love the photos. Mushrooms and coon prints.... :)

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Your dark "warty" mushroom is a variety of a bolete called Old Man of the woods. edible but not tasty.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
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