Catching Up with the Garden

I have been away from the garden for about two weeks, weeks of very high temperatures and very little in the way of rain. I missed a few weeks of In a Vase on Monday, Wordless Wednesday, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day and End of the Month Review. Forgive my absence, please. Coming back after a week at the beach, I made a tour of the garden today and would like to present a brief report, in no particular order.

‘Osage” crape myrtle has decided to put out a new set of flower buds this year and is displaying a new flush of bloom. It has done that in past years when I deadheaded, but they are now over fifteen feet and my Arranger will not allow me to climb ladders in the garden, so I am pleased with their volunteer self effort.


‘Osage’ crape myrtle

“Catawba” crape myrtle has held its color far longer this year than in the past. The one heavy rain we had about ten days ago (3 inches) loaded down the flowers and they continue to bend; I may have to do a bit of pruning later if the branches don’t rise again.


‘Catawba’ crape myrtle

I bought this dwarf crape myrtle over six years ago (its label read “dwarf pink”) and it is blooming now the best it ever has. It responded well to last spring’s pruning. The blooms are about half the size of other crape myrtles; it is a true dwarf. Most of my other crape myrtles have about finished for the season, but it’s nice to still have this kind of color in the garden in August.


“dwarf pink” crape myrtle

I didn’t expect to see gardenia ‘Jubilation’ in bloom at this time of year, but here are a few. The white phlox ‘David’ is almost full after earlier deadheading. A few hostas are blooming now; most have finished. The unidentified light pink phlox is blooming still, while its sisters in another area are in bad need of deadheading; they should rebloom after I attend to them. This is the last daylily, strangely named ‘Early Red.’

A contrast of two hydrangeas: ‘Little Lime’ is in full bloom while the rest, looking like ‘Endless Summer,’ are fading.

The ‘Winter Gem’ boxwoods that were trimmed several weeks ago are looking quite healthy, despite the stressful weather, and are covered with bright new growth.


‘Winter Gem’ boxwood

A verbal report of the rest:

The Carolina jessamin is growing like crazy on the back arbor, and several clematis are showing buds. Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake’ is living up to its name with dozens of new growth shoots bearing white flowers. The purple barberries are retaining their color despite the summer heat; they usually fade to green at this time of year much as the red maples have already done. ‘Anthony Waterer’ spirea is putting up new growth and should bring another spurt of flowers before frost.

The Knock Out rose has recovered from the Japanese beetle onslaught and is blooming again. I would have presented a photo here, but it is in dire need of deadheading, and I don’t want to get a reputation for keeping an untidy garden.

A few Encore azaleas are in bud. The bright yellow ligustrum ‘Sunshine’ has held its color quite well in the heat and has added bright splashes of color throughout the garden.

I lost a euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ to the heat. A few of the annual pots didn’t make it through my two weeks of neglect; my Arranger has already been talking about the choices we must make to replace them anyway. The heucheras have survived well enough but are showing some heat and critter damage.

All in all, I must be happy with the state of things. One of my objectives over the past year or so has been to make changes in the garden that reduce maintenance and install plants that can withstand the stress of the elements. I am beginning to taste success.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to six of his eight grandchildren.
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13 Responses to Catching Up with the Garden

  1. Laura says:

    What a beautiful garden! You should be so proud!😃


  2. Arati says:

    Beautiful and joyous garden!


  3. colonialist says:

    I would say that in your quest for reduced maintenance those annuals have disqualified themselves from a replacement list!
    I love hydrangeas – amazing how one can adjust soil to get distinct colour variations between the acid and the alkaline.
    Do you have Impatiens? I think they have adjusted to that worldwide blight, which brings them back onto the ‘easy colour’ list.


    • johnvic8 says:

      The only annuals we use are in pots, so being away for awhile can lead to their demise. We have grown impatiens in the past but not this year. I do have a pot of New Guinea impatiens hanging under a vitex.


  4. Marie says:

    Love crape myrtle. I wasn’t familiar with them until I moved to Virginia. I think they have become my favorite flowering tree, or second to the red bud. Great garden.


  5. bittster says:

    It looks great and how nice to return and find that things have carried on well enough without you!
    I did buy a crape myrtle last week and can only hope it looks half as nice as yours do!


  6. maristravels says:

    I enjoy your gardening comments and wish I had your undoubted skill with plants and planting. I seem to overdo everything, I love colour and will buy plants when i see them in bloom in the nursery which, when transplanted to my patch, only live a short while. But, I love it anyway. When I moved here after downsizing from a BIG front and back garden, I despaired of ever getting anything to grow as the previous owners only had stones and about 5 pots of mediocre shrubs. Now I have roses, lilies, hydrangeas, cottage gardeny plants like pansies and cosmos, and lots of hostas for the cool feel. I also have a small soft fruit garden with some easy-grow veggies like peas, beans and tomatoes. I look forward to picking up some hints from you,


    • johnvic8 says:

      Thank you for you kind comment. The important thing is that you love your plants and your garden. It’s a lot like kids; they may not do what you want them to do, but you love them anyway.


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