Thursday, August 4, 2016

Backyard Gardening

Last post I mentioned the slope garden in the backyard... Namely pulling several bins of weeds out of this growing space. The weeds were massive and choking out the day lilies (Hemerocallis) after all our Amazonian-like rainy weather. Well here it is now, a very thinned out garden that actually has identifiable plantings. In the right foreground is some rampant Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis); it's almost overwhelming some Iris transplants, but for now I am going to leave it for the bees. It is nice to be able to negotiate this flight of stairs above the Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) again, it had been completely overgrown!

At the other end of the patio, some pretty pink "Naked Ladies" of the Amaryllis Family (Lycoris squamigera) are just now putting up their individual flower stalks. This plant has foliage that dies back in June-July and then pops up these long-lasting blooms in late July-August. Since we removed a large Elm tree to the left of these flowers, there are twice as many flower stalks this summer. Unfortunately, the shade loving ground cover has died back in this now sunny spot. Most gardens periodically need re-engineering when the environment changes, and this section has endured a completely opposite environment from the 100% shade tolerant plants I originally sited here. Consequently, I have been moving sun threatened plants around the yard all season post tree removal.

Our other exciting garden event is that there are now 7 fairly good-sized watermelon growing in the fenced garden beneath our nectarine tree. It is a bit hard to weed in here with all the vines, but I did get a sheet of tin foil beneath each melon to limit rot, add warmth and let us easily see the watermelon locations. The vines have completely filled this 8x12 space and are now growing over the fence and into the yard! Fingers crossed these melons will taste as wonderful as they look.

This year has been exceptional for plant growth, wet, and warm, so it is surprising that even the drought tolerant prairie plants are doing well. This is the best my Echinacea has looked in a few years! There haven't been any pests like leafhoppers, so no mutant green flowers from viral infections. I keep an organic garden, but especially so in the backyard, since the dogs are always nosing through the slope plantings. It has been a treat to see such nice seasonal color and immense productivity. I plan to keep up with the maintenance weeding now that the overwhelming growth has been removed. Hopefully, this healthy growth will continue through Fall giving the plants a strong start next season.

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