Sunday, July 24, 2016

"See how fast the summer passes by"

The post title comes from Vashti Bunyan's Swallow Song which you may listen to here.

I've spent some time in the garden today, doing that most melancholy of summer gardening chores - removing spent plants.

The peas are done. We got three excellent meals from the few plants we put in. Is that worth it? We think so. Those peas, fresh out of the garden, cooked a very few minutes and then dotted with butter make one of life's sublime foods. If I can have eat them three times a year, that's enough to hold the memory until next year's crop. No peas in the store, frozen or fresh can compare.

You may see them in the garden on July 8 - in front of those orange daylilies.


And the first picking on July 14.


Another plant I cut down today was the mallow. I've mentioned before in my letters that I grow mallows because my mother told me they grew in front of the chicken house on the farm where she grew up. I knew as soon as I had my own farm that I would plant them. I think some view them as weeds, but I find them a lovely addition to the garden. They self-seed all over, which is a bonus.

They were the queens of the garden on July 1, and for two weeks afterward.



Today they looked like this. Blurry, but you get the idea.


Though the mallow, and also the aquilegia


look terrible after blossoming, there are some plants that look almost as good when they aren't in bloom. I think both the Baptisia australis (blue wild indigo) and peony plant are lovely in the height of summer when their blooms are long gone.



Though it was sad cutting down and pulling out the dead plants, I was cheered by beautiful daylilies which are still going strong.

We've been so lucky with rain. There was a dry spell for a couple weeks, but since then, we've gotten at least an inch of rain a week.

Most of the nesting is over. I still see a few phoebes, the crow family, a wren, and an occasional robin. The cedar waxwings stop by to eat some honeysuckle berries, and the turkeys stroll by with their almost full-grown babies, but the songs are done. It makes me feel wistful, but I look forward to spring next year when the beauty and birdsong begin all over again.

20 comments:

  1. Love all the garden talk. I lifted and divided a few coral bells today. Left most of them alone however, because the hummingbirds are still visiting often! We picked a "mess of peas" today too. I am hoping for a few more meals, and as these plants are spent, will plant a few seeds for a fall crop.

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    1. Your season must be longer than here. I don't think I could get a fall crop.

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  2. Your area must not be in the grip of this awful heat wave. I too have had to take out lots of by gone flowers. I am afraid with this heat I will have to do another go around. I too think peas are worth growing even for just a few meals. Well worth it. The rabbits thought this in my garden this year. I hope next year we get them before the rabbits.

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    1. No, we rarely have high heat. There have been a few bad sleeping nights, but not many. And most evenings I can close the downstairs windows because it is cool. Did you see the rabbits eating or did they do it in secret?

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  3. Peas straight from the pod are so delicious! I remember "helping" in the garden when I was little, and eating at least as many as I was collecting :-)
    Who could think of the beautiful flowers as weeds?!
    After what was a way too cold and wet start for summer, we've now had much more favourable weather for the past few weeks, and the gardens look beautiful - neither parched as they were last summer, nor sad and half-drowned as they were a while ago.
    There is still a lot of bird song here to be heard. Some finches love to sit in the mulberry tree in front of my bedroom window and sing. Nearly all birds love that tree and feast on the mulberries that just keep going and going.

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    1. I so love the thought of the tree right outside your window and birds singing in it and eating the mulberries. Beautiful, wonderful, perfect.

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  4. I think your yard is beautiful in all its stages. Almost can't remember what real fresh peas taste like, but do remember that no others compare. Love the idea of the mallow planted in memory of your mother's stories about her childhood. Makes your garden a living memorial.

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    1. Thank you, Sallie. You always say the kindest things.

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  5. As a city-dweller, I especially like these posts, as they give me a look into what it would be like to tend a garden :) And I love peas!

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  6. I love seeing the cycles and what's happening in your part of the world. Appreciating foliage after the flowers are over is an important part of the process, isn't it?

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    1. Thank you. It's amazing how plants differ. Honestly, the peonies would be beautiful just as shrubs. The bonus is the gorgeous blooms!

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  7. I love that mallow! It's such a pretty, delicate color.

    So many of my plants are finished for another season, but just when I think it's time to cut them back a bit, they begin to bloom all over again. The coreopsis, salvia and hydrangeas are still going. I think it's because we've had quite a bit of rain this past month (usually we are drying up and getting very hot by July) and the temps, while very hot for a week or so, continue to cool down. This weekend we were only in the mid-70s! Of course, we still have all of this month and September, so things may really be finished in another few weeks. My roses are still going and the butterfly bushes are thriving, so there's always something to add some color to the yard. And I love the greenery of the peonies, which looks nice until the mildew sets in during the hot, humid days. Soon, the asters and autumn joy (sedum) will be the stars of the show.

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    1. I really should get another sedum or two. I have one and it is such a treat when all else is done. The wilder flowers are so beautiful now - the brown eyed Susans and goldenrod and mullein. I don't think I know if you have daylilies??? And will you bring any of your perennials to Oregon?

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    2. I have three sedums in the front (they've gotten very large!) and one in the back. The others in the back died. I think they were getting too much water from a nearby downspout. Oh, how I wish we still had brown-eyed Susans, but the rabbits ate ALL of them a few years ago. I tried replanting, but they went right back to them. I could've put decorative chicken wire around them, but I decided it wasn't worth it. Yes, I have daylilies, but they're not as beautiful as yours. They're just your typical country type that grown wild just about everywhere around here. I do have some pretty yellow stella de oros, though. No, I won't try to move any of my plants to Oregon. My mom has a beautifully established yard with lots of native plants. I'll leave the plants here for the new owners to enjoy.

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    3. When we moved from my childhood home to here, we brought with us some trees we had planted - a silver maple and an oak. And some honeysuckle and lilac bushes. They are huge now. I am quite attached to my plants. When you say 'typical country type' do you mean the orange ones? They are what come first here, but they don't last as long as the ones I've bought.

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    4. I'm attached to some of my plants, but we will be driving for about a week, so there's that. Plus, my plants are more suited for the midwest (heat & humidity) and my mom's garden is more coastal & cool. She has lots of rhoddies and hydrangeas, which I love. Yes, the lilies are orange. tall stems and nothing terribly beautiful Just a splash of color in the back corner of the yard.

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    5. Yeah, I moved only about eight miles. haha.

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  8. Beautiful photos of a beautiful, fleeting season.

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    1. Thanks so much. With all the heat we've been having, I'd just as soon it fleet a little faster. haha

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