My Summer Garden

The back yard.

The artist is the confidant of nature,  flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.  Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.  – Auguste Rodin

It’s been a perfect spring for reworking the garden.  Throughout May rain has been abundant with regular showers during the late afternoons and the dark of night. Just a few nights ago we had well over an inch of rain which came down fast, heavy and loud, leaving the new additions to my gardens dancing.

Most of the work is done for the summer except for continuous weeding and deadheading to keep the blossoms coming. There is space available for more plants but I wait to find the one that calls my name as I walk past it at the nursery. Or I might marvel at one in someone else’s garden and then do an all out search to find it.

Keeping the garden moist enough so that the plants thrive is another chore throughout the warm season.  In the past I’ve been guilty of over watering many plants causing them to die because they don’t like wet feet.  So this year I’m being extra wary, using a meter that tests the moisture level of the soil when it’s looking too dry.

When we bought this house almost two years ago the bank out front was covered with low growing junipers. They were green year round and were easy to maintain, but not colorful or interesting.  Last summer they started turning brown but then came back to life in the fall.  This spring there was a massive die-out and we removed them all, replacing them with a much more interesting selection of plants with the help of my gardening mentor, Maria. She and her sons have worked with me for years, doing the big, heavy jobs.

The front of the house with newly planted bank.

This year she redesigned the front bank and did all the planting. Many of the them came from Maria’s own nursery as well as from Lowe’s, where at this time of year their plant benches are overflowing with low-priced shrubs and flowers. The secret is to check in daily to see what new goodies have been delivered.

I took on the gardens in the back of the house. There is another bank above the driveway but it’s not the back breaker the one out front is.  Most of it’s in deep shade, which I love. I also added a few annuals to a sunny location for cut flowers.  I love Zinnias and Cosmos. They add boldness and grace to any flower arrangement.

Every morning as I look out into the gardens my heart swells with joy. Simply passing through from the house to the garage, any darkness of mood disappears as I take in the colors and textures around me.  Yellow day lilies, hardy white gardenias and purple coneflowers offset by a riot of soft and sharp greens make the day bright even if the sky is steel-gray.

The shade garden out back.

There is so much more to come as the season progresses and I find myself on the other side of summer.  Late bloomers and fall colors hold until the last leaf drops and the flowers go to seed.  I’ll fill an album with photos as the summer passes, so that next January when it’s cold and dark, my inspiration will continue.  Without my garden I become disconnected, unable to write or paint. It fills me with life, love, and keeps me centered. It feeds my soul.

 I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.  – Claude Monet

A reblooming day lily.

PS  I found the quotes above on one my very favorite blogs. Check out Terri Windling’s artwork and words here.

This entry was posted in Life, love, Matters of the Spirit, The Garden, The Seasons and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Summer Garden

  1. shirleyhs says:

    Lovely, Joan. I’m looking forward to enjoying Virginia flowers and vistas and gardens again. You spoke to my heart here.

  2. jzrart says:

    Thanks, Shirley. Having lived in Vermont for twenty years where summers are short, I find gardening in Virginia so delightful. The season starts so early and lasts so long!

  3. Becca says:

    I am so envious…it’s just beautiful 🙂

  4. jzrart says:

    Thanks so much Becca. It was a lot work! That part shouldn’t be envied!

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