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My Kind of Summer

High summer is here with steamy viscous air so thick one can barely breathe...except, that was not true for the last couple of days. We have had a reprieve. A short one, for traditional weather is returning quickly. But July 4th and 5th have been more like spring days, with lower humidity and exhilarating breezes to mitigate the warm temperatures, which only made it into the eighties. At night, we can open our windows! I enjoyed this unexpected gift by spending extra time in the garden.A recent close-up of one of my Snowflake hydrangeas. Snowflake hydrangeas have double blooms, unlike common Oakleaf hydrangeas, and as they age, they turn dusty rose. Oakleaf hydrangeas are native and offer year-round beauty and interest.A month ago, when I posted on the June garden, this same view of the front garden, shown below, was a swath of pink, but now the Knockout roses are quiet, getting ready to produce another flush, and the Anthony Waterer spireas are putting out only occasional blooms. Soon I will trim them back.

The crepe myrtles are blooming and will provide color for the rest of the summer. In the front garden there are two old-fashioned watermelon-pink ones and three lavender "miniatures." From this photo you can see how large "miniature" is, though advertised to grow to three feet!

Here is one image from the woodland garden, taken late afternoon as the sun was streaming through. This is my favorite time to be in the woodland garden; it is magical! The fern in the foreground is a Bird's Nest fern, Asplinium nidus. It is in a pot so I can bring it in for the winter.

High summer in the Deep South means green in all its manifestations. Foliage reigns supreme. Here is a sampling from my garden:Clockwise from top left: Indigofera ground cover; Crookneck squash leaf; Rhododendron, which has never bloomed, but maybe someday; Native holly fern; Variegated sedge; Maidenhair fern.

Clockwise from top left: Pilea; Hydrangea 'Lady in Red'; Japanese Painted Fern; Anise 'Florida Sunshine'; Variegated Jacob's Ladder; Native Trillium cuneatum and Autumn fern.

Foliage may be supreme, but flowers continue to play a lovely part in the garden. Coneflowers are doing well, or maybe they are not. Some of them have flowers that appear stunted. Those all-green things...do they have a virus, or am I lucky to have a weird new variety?

Here are more flowers. At the top are the very last of my foxgloves. The beauty of the fading leaves, their veins prominently outlined in pink, caught my attention. Almost, one would think they were supposed to be that way!Top: Fading Foxglove. Middle: Calla lily, Zantedeschia. Bottom: Romantica rose 'Orchid Romance'.

Check out these flower centers. Can you guess what they are? Answers below! Clockwise from top left: Balloon flower, Platycodon; Rose campion; Seed head of Phlox maculata; Hydrangea macrophylla, 'Forever Pink'.

I often show images like the ones below in winter, when there is not much to look at, but I love these things year round. When I was a child, I collected rocks and oddities from the yard. I still do!How about my clay frog? I fell in love with this creature and brought him home this past spring.He sits on a ball atop a marble mosaic table top, nestled amidst greenery in the woodland garden.The owner of a furniture store let me have the table top for free because a corner was damaged. I originally intended to repair it and put it on a base to make a real table, but repair proved harder than I thought. It sat for over a year leaning against the wall of the carport. Lou was beginning to grumble about it, so I decided to put it in the garden. I moved it several times until I found a place overlooking the fern glade. The broken corner is easily overlooked, and the frog on the ball makes it seem to be intended for the purpose.

Finally, here is my new green rabbit. He came home with me after I visited the Hills and Dales Estate's gift shop. I don't say that I collect rabbits, but I do have several of them. This one has a nice view of the garden from the patio table.I am writing this late at night, and Lou just opened the windows again. I am listening to the sing-song of summer insects, a dog barking, and booming fireworks in the distance. Some people are stretching out their 4th of July partying. There is a nice breeze. This is my kind of summer!

You may also enjoy my previous post, The Kingdom of the Three Rabbits.

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Reader Comments (16)

You may want to look up 'Aster Yellows' re the coneflowers. The only cure is destroying the affected plants.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Oh everything looks so lushly beautiful! I'm entranced by wooded gardens because I've always wondered what it's like to have one! I've always lived in big cities where a "large" lot = 8000sq ft! hahahahahaha Crazy right? And then to move to Fl? 😊 Not much woodland grows from sand!
Anyway, I enjoyed this little visit in your woody looking paradise!

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

Glad to hear that you had a couple of days of fine weather, a break from the heat and humidity and able to do fun things in the garden because of that. Fabulous images as always!

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Deb, these are wonderful and inspiring photos. Thanks for sharing. I think I'll go work in the yard now.

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Sorry to have to echo what Nell said, but I do believe your 'green' coneflowers have been infected with Aster Yellows disease.

From what I've read it's a viral illness that, as Nell says, currently has no cure. The recommended intervention is to remove the plant from the garden before mites spread the disease to other healthy coneflowers.

I shovel-pruned an infected coneflower here a few weeks ago. So far (knock on imaginary wood), the other coneflowers seem fine.

Love your foliage shots. Jealous of the Rose Campion. I know it's supposed to be easy as pie, but I can't seem to grow it here from seed. Argh!

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

I seem to come round for a visit so seldom these days, Deb... What a lovely walk through your garden. Thank you!

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJack

late at night here too. Windows firmly closed against a promised 0C. Yet I still hear a frog chirping!

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

This is my kind of stroll through the garden, virtual or not - I love to see all the special oddities along with the beautiful flowers and the handsome foliage (which you have lots of). I'm glad you've been able to enjoy the extended holiday weekend without the damp heat keeping you in hiding. We had higher than normal humidity here for several days and whined about it ad nauseum as we're used to "dry heat."

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Love the frog and bunny...and your variety of foliage is amazing as usual Deb. I concur the coneflowers may have asters yellow...I am finding more of it and rip it out and throw it away when I find it to keep it in check.

I agree--my kind of summer this year, too. We've only had the air conditioning on a couple of days. Love to breathe that fresh air! Your garden decorations are so cute and so tastefully done! I always enjoy visiting your blog and your gardens. :)

July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

You are so wise to embrace the green of summer. As much as we try to deny it, we all know that flowers fade a bit in the heat, and green will be the color then.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

You garden looks wonderful, Deb. The coneflowers should be pulled though. Your new rabbit I just adore and I collect frogs and would not turn that handsome fellow away either. We too have temps a good bit lower than last year. So welcomed too.

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

How nice to have a reprieve from the summer heat; we're having cloudy days that keep the temperature lower too, I am enjoying it so much! Sorry to read that comment above about the Echinacea, they look very interesting to me, as if, like you said, you had a new variety. The woodland looks magical as ever, I so enjoy seeing you wood and garden, it always seems so tranquil.

July 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Love your new frog and rabbit, they are adorable! I hope you enjoy your cooler temperatures for a while.

July 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Beautiful Debbie! I had not received an email showing you had posted so I came to check on you! I hope you are doing ok!
I just posted that I have Lemon Lime hosta for trade if you are interested!

July 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichael

Your clay frog is wonderful Deb. But so is your whole garden. Your images always make me happy.

July 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

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