« Dog Days of Summer | Main | Foiling Birds and Aliens »

Under the Dragon's Breath

July is here with the steamy breath of a dragon. To do any gardening I must wait for clouds to hide the white hot sun. Earlier this week we had a couple of days when I was able to begin a mid-summer spruce-up, pulling weeds and giving plants a dose of my summer tonic, consisting of 2 tbsp. of epsom salts and 2 tbsp. fish emulsion per gallon of water, applied to the soil around the plants. It takes a few days to get through the whole garden, and I did not make it. I wait for the next dip in temperatures. Anything below 90 degrees is close to refreshing.

Here is a tour of my garden that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Though a virtual tour is very limited and lacks so much, at least you won't be sweating at the end of it.

I will begin with the front garden, which is very green. The pastel lavender blooms are crape myrtles:

The following image gives a good view of the front lawn and how the garden wraps around it. The woodland garden is located in the little valley on the other side of the driveway, seen in the distance. Lawns get a lot of negative press, but I love our zoysia lawn, which is maintained with organic fertilizers, applied twice a year. The birds love it, too. 

Touring the garden is not just about plants. I caught this Silver Spotted Skipper sipping nectar from our little Tutti-frutti Butterfly Bush, a small sterile shrub that blooms prolifically through the summer, as long as I keep it dead-headed:

These coneflowers are also a favorite of the pollinators, though I did not catch any butterflies or bees visiting them this time:

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' is an outstanding bloomer. I have never been disappointed in this shrub, which grows to about 8 feet. It likes more sun than other hydrangeas. I can see it from my kitchen window, and it gives me a lot of pleasure:

Here are assorted plants growing the large stone planter in front of the house:

More flowers in various places around the garden:Clockwise from top left: Eucomis; Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'; Campanula (Balloon Flower); Indigofera - this is a spring bloomer, but a few flowers persist; Agapanthus; Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan).

Once in a while I have to post a photo of Stump World, a twenty-five year old oak tree stump, which is a world unto itself, providing habitat and nourishment to untold numbers of little critters:

Here is an image from the edge of the woodland garden, looking out onto what I call the lower front lawn, limey green and full of interesting shadows:

And at last a look into the woodland garden, deep green and mysterious, a fascination of leaves of all descriptions:

Blessings to you all!    Deb


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (19)

It may be miserably hot outside, Deb, but your garden is marvelous. If I lived somewhere that gets regular rain, as you do, I'd keep a lawn too. I got rid of the lawn in my former garden largely because I had very little space to plant and, of course, the lawn in my current garden is going because there isn't the water to maintain it, but the negative space provided by lawn can't be beat and yours sets off your borders beautifully. Your stump is wonderful too - I have 2 old stumps (probably Eucalyptus) but neither has moss, much less lichen.

July 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Beautiful as always, even with the heat :)

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Thanks for the tour. Everything looks lovely. I'll have to try your tonic on my plants.

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarcia

I like your lawn too, it is beautiful and makes a statement to anchor those beautiful gardens. Stump world is so true. Countless critters call it home. I had a tiny butterfly bush but removed it because unlike yours, did not attract many insects. I thought it would too. Bees liked it, but not butterflies. Too bad on the heat. I can imagine it must be a chore to be in it during the day. Stay cool, Deb.

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

So beautiful! Your posts are inspiring!

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarzie

A walk through your garden is the high point in any day for me, such a gorgeous piece of the earth...Your photos are so inviting; I hope the temperatures drop for you so you have a chance to really enjoy it this summer.

your woodland garden is one of my favourites among the garden blogs.

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Lots of beautiful flowers are thriving in your hot sun. And, as always, I have agapanthus envy!

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I love your idea of a garden summer tonic! Your garden looks so pretty, and going strong despite the heat. I think zoysia is really the way to go down south. Our neighbor had zoysia, and even though it greened up later than others, it did so well during the summer, while we always struggled with our fescue. Love the stump! So cool how it is a whole buzz of activity in there!

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Dear Deb, despite the hot temperatures your garden looks so beautiful and fresh! I like your lawn, too. I don't think there is a problem with having a lawn, if you treat it organically, the problem starts when you use synthetic fertilizers and the weedkillers that are usually in so called "lawn care" products.
Here in San Diego lawn is a big problem now because it needs so much water and with the drought that we are having and the water restrictions it is almost impossible to keep it looking nice in the summer. We are thinking to take the little bit of lawn out that is left in the front yard, but would love to keep some lawn in the back yard for the dog to play, but that might not be possible.
May I ask how are you applying the fish emulsion and the Epsom Salts in your garden? Considering the size of your yard, I don't think you are going around with a watering can. Or do you?
Warm regards,

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

Wow, your place is so intensely green it looks like you could start exporting chlorophyll. Great pictures of the Skipper. Nice that you can grow Eucomis and Agapanthus in your zone, they are beauties.

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjason

So beautiful! I would not mind the sweat if I had a chance to see your beautiful garden in reality. I can't imagine how much work it must take to keep all the clipped shrubs looking so crisp.

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Hello, everyone! I appreciate all your kind comments so much! Christina, you asked how I go about applying the fish emulsion and Epsom Salts. I prepare the solution in a 3 gallon sprayer on wheels that I can easily pull around behind me. I spray the solution to the soil around each plant. I take two or three days to get to everything. I don't apply to trees or large shrubs such as the boxwoods or the yaupon hollies. They do just fine without it. I do apply to all ferns, azaleas, hydrangeas, roses, and most perennials. Best wishes! Deb

July 13, 2015 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I am such a wimp when it comes to high heat. I start melting when the temperature soars over 80 degrees! I can imagine that it must be very uncomfortable to do much more than admire the garden. Perhaps that is just as well. A mid-summer break from outdoor chores may not be such a bad thing!

July 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

After my visit to North and South Carolina and Georgia I understand better what you mean when you talk about the humidity. I now won't ask "what is the temperature" but rather "what is the humidity?" We went from Georgia to Colorado where the temperatures were the same (very high 90's F) In Colorado the humidity was almost a negative figure if that were possible and so the temperatures were relatively easy to cope with. Here in Italy the humidity is somewhere in the middle usually although since we came home it has been higher than usual. I wish I could have travelled that bit further to visit you and your wonderful garden which demonstrates that although the humidity is terrible for me, the trees and plants love it. The temperatures in our two gardens are similar but in mine everything is parched while yours looks very lush and green still.

July 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Deb, I love your gardens! Being a 'neighbor' in Georgia with zoysia, which we love on our bare feet, I wanted to ask what organic fertilizers you use. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us!

July 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Your garden just makes me sigh and you are SO right about that dragon's breath. I haven't worked in the yard in over a week. Just can't bear it.

July 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hi Linda, you asked about what organic fertilizer we use on our lawn. We use a product called WOW Plus from Gardens Alive. You can order online or from their catalogue, which contains an extensive line of organic products. Deb

July 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

That view of the garden surrounding the lawn is just jaw dropping...

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>