Yesterday was the first day of summer. I love summer. Next to spring and fall it is my favorite season. It has long been my rule that I officially declare a truce on anything but maintenance in the gardens and just enjoying what is already there, but this year I may make an exception. (What happened to those 150 lily bulbs I planted six years ago? Really? Only six or seven left?)
Next to the fall and winter holidays, June, July and August are really busy months for us. When you have a large family and network of friends there are so many weddings, graduations, birthday parties, visiting vacationers, pool parties, overnight grandkid parties, camps, concerts, art festivals and just plain fun stuff going on that there is little time to worry about anything but stocking up on food, drinks and sunscreen!
I do most of my work on the gardens in the spring and in the fall, which is actually the right time to work in the garden. But I often find that the selection of plant materials in the way of perennials somewhat lacking in inspiration, if not dismal.
The other day I was getting ready for a party at the house and I needed to refresh some potted plants on the deck that still had some spring annuals in them that were past their prime. I stopped in the nursery and made a cruise through the aisles and I was blown away by all the beautiful perennials, some new introductions, some old favorites that I just hadn't seen in a while and had forgotten about. (Did my dozens of fancy iris bloom when I was not paying attention or just not bloom at all?)
Unfortunately I had a to-do list a mile long for that day and had no time to do anything but fill up my car with the summer plants for the deck that I had come for (although I did pick up some abutilons that I had been searching for forever) and I had to leave disappointed, but motivated to come back.
I have a confession to make. Although all the pictures that I post are current (unless otherwise stated) of my gardens, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. I have lots of help to keep them up, but the design choices are all mine and there are so many plants that have just disappeared over the years, popped up where they shouldn't be, or are just tired and need to be cut back, removed or transplanted at my direction that they are in dire need of my attention. There are lots of days that a walk through my gardens leave me cringing at what I see.
Although summer is not the ideal time to garden and certainly the middle of a drought does not help either, I intend to carve some time out of this busy month to focus on my SJC garden and take advantage of some of those lovely perennials that seem to show up at the nurseries when I am not paying attention.
I actually have some time this week and if I cancel an appointment or two I can make some more. It is just a matter of priorities. (When the agapanthus are the best looking thing in the garden it is time to refocus!)
There are lots of sad spots in the garden due to the cut back in watering. I took pictures, but I'm not sure I want to dwell on the bare cracks in the flagstone paths where there used to be baby tears and the brown spots in the lawns, I just need to find new solutions for those spots that don't require so much water. Even the succulents are looking a bit stressed because even though they may be more drought tolerant than some annuals, they still do require regular water.
Don't even get me started on the fact that the containers I bought last winter for my container vegetable garden are still empty! If one more person asks me how my tomatoes are doing and I have to explain that I haven't quite got around to planting any yet - well don't get me started!
Meanwhile I need to remember that overall most things look pretty good.
That is because of the basic structure and reliance on trees, shrubs, grasses, natives and hardscaping that I put in when I designed the garden a few years ago. And I need to divide the iris, which is actually a summer job anyway!