Saturday, August 1, 2009

The first of August

Where did the summer go? I know, technically, we still have a few weeks of summer left, but the sun angle is changing, it gets dark a few minutes earlier each day, and plants are starting to set seed as if they're done for the year. That means it's time to start making serious plans for next year's gardens.

The Potager.

During my constructive staring episode in the backyard a couple weeks ago, I thought about creating a raised bed 32' long, 4' wide behind the tomato patch. This is where I would plant my squash, cucumbers, and corn next season. This is behind the rose garden bed I started last week. Things change.

Now that the oak tree has come down, there's an area of the gully that gets more sun than the current potager. It only makes sense to clear this area and build the raised bed here.

I've already got the landscape timbers. I got them for a steal. Most of them are cracked or warped, but plenty usable. It's good to be an employee sometimes. First dibs, and all that.

The Perennial bed.

I am very happy with some areas of the perennial bed. Along the street, the combinations have worked well. Each week, there's a different look thanks to the bloom cycles of the plants I placed here when it was nothing but bare soil. I've already reworked the corner a little. The red spider zinnias and convolvulus tricolor were pulled a while ago. I moved some rudbeckia and datura to this corner. I'm still not happy with the outcome. We'll see what it looks like if/when the zinnia seeds I sowed are in bloom. We've still got 3.5 months until our first frost.

Behind the arbor, this part of the bed is shadier than I realized, even when the sun is at it's zenith. I need to find plants that prefer a little shade. I'm sure I have something that will do well here. The bee balm I planted still hasn't bloomed. It does get a little morning sun now that the oak tree is gone, but not much.

I want to rework this entire area. The Knockouts need more sun, the cosmos just look weedy. The zinnias and cleome aren't nearly as thick as I would have liked. I'm leaning towards making this my red/orange bed instead of pink/orange. The Thundercloud Plum will be moved. I'll wait until it's completely dormant this winter. I've already picked out a spot in the backyard.

I want something that grows tall along the back side of this area. Maybe sunflowers?

The Front Bed.

By the front door, I am really not happy with what's going on here. I've started making changes. The tea olive in the corner will stay. Another will be moved from the backyard in a few months. The hydrangeas will go into the shade bed next to the driveway that I built a couple weeks ago. The Japanese maple will stay. The datura will be pulled once seeds are collected. White daturas will be scattered here next spring. The rooted gardenias from last year are already in the ground and growing nicely. Two or three years from now, they should be a good size. There's just too much going on in this bed right now.

The Back Yard.

The Belle of Georgia peach tree and dwarf cherry will be moved to the current potager. I'll be rooting more fig cuttings this fall too. I want to create a mini orchard. The seedless grapevines need more sun. They'll resent being dug up, again, but it needs to be done.


sad cherry


I collected seeds of purple cleome and plain old rudbeckia hirta today. I need to start carrying containers with me when I walk the gardens each morning.

The brugmansia in the perennial bed has cracked now. It's probably one of the yellow ones I think is Charles Grimaldi, but without absolute confirmation, I just call it my yellow Noid.

It's 72 degrees and cloudy. More rain expected today and Sunday. If it's not too bad, I'll spend some time tomorrow moving the hydrangeas, planting out the ones I rooted, and potting up the new gardenia cuttings I took weeks ago. I've got two more roses to move. The Lagerfelds in the white bed need more sun and space. I'd also like to cut out a few of the Roma tomato plants. They were terrible. I didn't harvest but once though they produced a lot. I'd rather eat store bought tomatoes than those nasty things.


Anonymous said...

I love cosmos but they are always going to be "weedy".

Anonymous said...

Tom, in the 4th photo down is that the cherry brandy rudbeckia???? They look like they are more red now? Thanks, Judy

compost in my shoe said...

You have been a busy summer gardener for sure. Might want to look at some heirloom tomatoes known for taste in your nick of the woods.....

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Judy, those are offspring of the Autumn Colors Rudbeckia I killed last year. I was able to collect seeds and some came nearly true. Others had lots more yellow and orange. I'll be saving seeds again this year since it tends to act like an annual here rather than a perennial. Very small root balls.

Thanks compost. I am saving seeds from Green Zebra and will grow a few new types next year. The beefsteaks didn't do as well as I hoped. My favorite cherry turned out to be Yellow Pear. Very tart. Nice.