Summer Scenes in the Garden

Summer is here, and the deep greening of the garden has begun. A few perennials and annuals celebrate our heat and humidity and provide splashes of color, but these hot months are all about foliage in its myriad forms and variegations. 

First, some color: This tropical hibiscus is so beautiful that I plan to bring it inside later to overwinter. For now it sits on our patio, and I have a good view of it from our kitchen and dining room.

Here are a few more June blooms:The large top photo is from my new pollinator garden, with purple Veronica and perennial Helenium. Do you see the bee? Small photos left to right: Hummingbird plant, Dicliptera suberecta, is also known as Uruguayan firecracker plant; One of the very best yellow reblooming daylilies is Hemerocallis 'Going Bananas'; Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' has double blooms, unlike the common oak leaf hydrangea, which has single blooms; 'Anthony Waterer' Spirea has May - June blooms but will produce more flowers if spent blooms are removed.

When the day is nearly done - but not quite - the sun sends shafts of light through the woodland garden. It is my favorite time of the day. Sparks flash under and over and through the foliage; and like a soul lifted out of darkness, the garden is transformed.

Here are closer views of some of the woodland plants:Clockwise from top left: Breynia disticha is called Snow on the Mountain bush and also Snowbush. It is not hardy in my area. It is in a pot, and I will bring it inside for winter; Hosta 'Rhino Hide'; Cercis canadensis 'Whitewater' is a weeping variegated redbud tree; Zantedeschia albomaculata, or White Spotted Leaf Calla Lily; Fatsia 'Spider's Web'; Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is another plant in my garden that is not hardy. It is in a pot so I can bring it in for winter.

Clockwise from top left: Peacock moss (Selaginella uncinata) and Athyrium filix-femina, commonly called lady fern, grow next to a mossy rock; A close-up of the Peacock moss; Native Trillium and Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora);Hostas are beginning to bloom - I don't remember the name of this one!

Finally, here is a Daddy Longlegs, stretched out, taking it easy on a hosta leaf. This non-venomous insect has 6 legs and is not a true spider:

Happy Gardening!


What to Do With a Hollow Log

Old or sick trees eventually die; and with a wealth of trees on our property, Lou usually has several trees to remove every year. Much of the wood is cut and stacked neatly, to be used in the fireplace during cold winters. Large stumps, such as those in our Stump World, may be left in the woods to rot, providing shelter and food to myriads of creatures over the years. But this year we had several more interesting hollow logs, and I immediately recognized their potential as features in the garden. 

When a long, shaggy, moss-covered limb fell, I saw it as a woodland serpent with a wide open mouth, ready to swallow its prey. It had broken into two pieces when if hit the ground. The two pieces together were about twenty-five feet long - quite a snake! Lou was doubtful at first, but I convinced him the serpent log would make a great edging to the trail next to our fern glade. He and a helper loaded the pieces onto the back of a truck and hauled them to the entrance of the woodland garden, then carried them from there. I think it was worth their effort!

Here is a view of the two pieces of the serpent log in place; you can see part of the second piece in the center rear of the picture.:

Lou thinks it looks like an alligator, and maybe it does. But it really is too long to be anything but a serpent. I wish the two pieces were intact. I am going to encourage the vinca to grow over the ends so that it looks like the center of the snake is hidden in the growth.

Here is the back end of the serpent log. Lou had to cut the sharp jagged end off for the safety of people walking along the trail.

This trail is next to our fern glade, and I also used a couple of hollow logs to make some easy rustic planters for the same area. I simply put the logs in place, then filled their cavities with a good potting mix prior to planting.These hollow logs came from a chestnut oak:

Here is another log I think has a lot of character. I laid it on its side and used it as part of the edging beside the fern glade: