The garden of dramatic changes.

Notice anything different?


I cut back the cup and saucer vine. I cut it all the way back. I kept the 10-ft-long ropey stems. They may re-sprout. On one hand I hope they do, on the other hand I hope they don't.


I lost control of this vine a year ago. It had engulfed the deck and begun to shade out some previously sunny areas. I don't like how the new flowers drop sticky nectar all over everything when they open. It stains the deck and the plants and then dirt sticks to the sticky residue. Gets on my nerves. Anyway, if it grows back, I vow to remain more on top of things.

I found a butterfly pupa underneath it all. I hung a towel next it to protect it the rest of the way. Please live.


I'm also considering dramatic changes for this half-barrel of tomato fail. I was thinking about moving a blueberry bush in there, but maybe the half-barrel could just go and I could open up this area for sitting... Visually, I know having all these containers is "too much". It's hard to walk around. It adds to the cluttered-feeling in the small space.


But I don't want to sit in the sun, I want to sit in the shade. But the shade part of the garden is so well established I hate to disrupt it.


And it doesn't make sense to turn the sunniest garden real estate into a sitting area.


And I want more blueberries. So I'm deadlocked. I think I'll try the blueberry and see how that feels for awhile... Sigh. I'm getting frustrated with this tiny, funky-junky garden and I want to move to a bigger space! Realistically, I know we'll be here for at least 3 more years so I need to make happy.

If only I hadn't become a gardener. Then I wouldn't care. But I did. Consuming passions can be so annoying!













In which I failed to document the heatwave as it happened

But for the sake of posterity, let it be known that we had 2 consecutive days of 100+ deg F, and then a third day in the mid-90s. I think the official San Francisco temperature was somewhere in the 90s all three days, but temperatures soared way over that in the backyard micro-climate.

It seems that my digital thermometer doesn't function properly at extreme temperatures. At one point, it recorded 132 deg F.

The potted cherry trees dropped all their leaves, but that seemed to be the extent of any heat-related stress effects. Things have returned to "normal" and we're back in the low 60s today. Bleh.

In the thick of it, the princess flowers shriveled up into dark purple crisps. I thought they'd drop, but they cooled off okay.


And the heat didn't melt my neighbor's house.


The sunflowers paid no mind


and Verbena bonariensis kept on keepin' on.


There it is above with one of two Angelica stricta 'Purpurea' from Annie's Annuals and Perennials. Another one is a little farther along.


It's kind of a disappointment when Cosmos blooms white, imo.


The heat might have prompted this long-suffering Passiflora sanguinolenta, also from Annie's Annuals, to make its first flower.


This poor plant has been moved, stomped on, and broken so many times I thought it wasn't going to make it. I managed to provide it safety for the last year, but safety was shady and I worried it wouldn't grow. After a long climb, the vines reached daylight and now it flowers.

(As I was took its picture this morning, I thought about how lucky those of us are who garden here to have Annie's Annuals to garden with. They always have so many different, interesting things to try. I feel gratitude.)

I think this corner area could use some color adjustments.


And as I sit here right now, I'm thinking some dark green foliage might do the trick. Hmm...



Just a week or two ago I was entertaining the notion of removing Salvia uliginosa for failure to perform. Well, it's performing now, and the blue flowers are among my favorite.


So I'm not entertaining that notion anymore. For now.


Garden of random notes

This lily could not be more out of place in my garden,

This lily could not be more out of place in my garden.

which otherwise looks like this:


I can't remember where I got the lily, but it's not 'Stargazer'. I remember the catalog I got it from billed it as bizarre and extreme. Sounded good at the time. In fact, it makes me a little queasy. It has to go. It reminds me of something I'd find in a tacky beauty salon. I smell nail polish and nasty hair treatment chemicals.

Lilies in general can be dicey. I like the martagons with small flowers. Everything else, I'm not sure.

Speaking of dicey, we are crawling with garden spiders.



I seem to have a dozen of these spiders right now. Strangely, they don't bother me. I'm otherwise quite arachnophobic.

Usually I cannot tolerate spiders, but for whatever reason these do not bother me. They look harmless. I guess it's the more malevolent-looking spiders that arouse my arachnophobia.

Leaf-cutter bees are depriving me of fall color again this year.



Leaf cutter bees depriving me of fall color again this year. Oh well. At least I have a few grape vines.

I only bought those vine maples (Acer circinatum) for fall color and I have been denied for three years now. I am loathe to spray any pesticides. Maybe I need more spiders.

At least I have the grape vines.


I have three grape vines, but only one big one. I added the other two this year and last year.

The Keckiella cordifolia's red display winds down about now, but not before bidding adieu to certain visitors.

This little guy came up right next to me while I was standing there plain as day.

I spent a couple hours planting out foxglove for next spring.


Most of the foxglove I planted out last year I planted out too late to bloom this year. So it's all still there. Now I'm adding more. 2011 should be a big year for foxglove.

Have you tried any Digitalis beyond purpurea? I wasn't very happy with D. ferruginea, but there are others to try. I think I'm going to let other people go first, and then steal their ideas.

I sometimes get the impression that people think I go for the exotic or rare, but that's just not true. I enjoy all the classic garden flowers--foxglove, sunflowers, cosmos, daisies. In fact, I'm growing Shasta daisy from seed right now & will plant those out soon.

Anyway...it was another cool, cloudy day...a good time to plant.

A good day for purple?


Or yellow?

Passiflora citrina

I have a lot of yellow. Some would say too much.

Chocolate-scented Tithonia diversifolia doesn't usually bloom this early. I don't expect it until January, but it has three flowers and lots of buds. I hope it will still make flowers in January, otherwise I won't have very much.


This is some kind of Rudbeckia, perhaps triloba. I grew it from seed a couple years ago but I thought it didn't work out. This lanky plant came out of nowhere.


The sun finally came out around 4, just when it leaves my garden for the day. I got a few pictures before it went away.


The light is definitely changing.


I enjoy it when I can.

Salvia uliginosa




Blake Garden in the late afternoon light

The late afternoon light of...late mid-summer? early late summer?

The first day of fall is Sept 22; that's 36 days away. There are 104 total days of summer, so 36 / 104 = 0.346153846. The third trimester is imminent. Let's call it very late mid-summer.

Over in my side bar, the first link under "other diversions" is Astronomical Applications. It takes you to a US Naval Observatory web-page that generates a calendar of daylight hours specifically for the area where you live.

Today in San Francisco we had 13 hours and 33 minutes of daylight, about 1 hour and 12 minutes less than we had on the summer solstice. We will lose another 32 minutes by August 31. And, 22 days after that, on the first day of fall, we will have lost another 52 minutes, leaving only 12 hours and 9 minutes of daylight.

For those of you suffering through hot summers, your relief is almost at hand. Meanwhile, those of us on the coast wait for the shorter days to bring the warmer weather of Indian Summer. During the long days of the calendar's summer, hot air rises in the Central Valley, pulling in ocean air through the Golden Gate. That moist air condenses over land and shrouds The City in a chilly fog. August is usually terrible, but this year it's been...very terrible. Expect things to warm up in September and October. October, glorious October--often our warmest month of the year, and a fine time to visit.

Aaanyway...as gardeners does this time of year set you in motion? Are you making preparations for fall planting? Getting cabbage and broccoli starts ready? Stocking up on plants to get in before the first fall rains? Or do you stave off thoughts of putting your garden to bed for winter? Are you preparing to make preparations? Or just putting off the preparations until you know it's too late to prepare so you can just wing it? For most of us, it's just gardening. We can do as we please, and it's tremendously fun.

There are no specific garden blogger memes for the end of summer, but we all seem to write several posts about it. It's one of my favorite times of the blogging year, when everyone tallies up their garden's summer.

My biggest preparations right now seem to be emotional. I'm trying to soak up all the light I can before it's gone. Like it might never came back.

Today I found 30 short minutes to whip through the Blake Garden...in the late afternoon light of very late mid-summer.












Cryptomeria japonica