Our first aromatic aster bloom of the year. It will bloom from now until the first frost. A real winner for us and the butterflies. Late last winter/early spring we saw dark-eyed junco birds eating the seed and taking the stems off with them presumably for nesting material. A good excuse not to tidy up the garden.
Well, it’s been a busy summer with four sets of visitors over a five week period. I have been taking photos so I’ll finally share them here. These first several are from mid July.
We stopped mowing a wet section of the field (on the left) last summer. The section on the right we stopped mowing this summer. It is interesting to see the difference.
By the front porch. The lone daylily looks pretty with the beebalm.
In front of the sun room.
We noticed a volunteer sassafras tree under the mahonia last year. The japanese beetles have been hard on it but it’s hanging in there.
Zinnias from the garden. I love this little vase our daughter made for us last year. I told her I wanted it to mimic tree bark and she delivered.
The orange coneflowers in our native garden started blooming in mid July and the flowers still look beautiful six weeks later. These photos are from July.
Dave bringing in the onion harvest on July 21.
These bitter melon are ridiculous. We could pick this many each week. I still have some in the freezer from last year. I gave some of these away. Dave took another large basket full to a coworker last week. I’ve frozen some and might freeze more. We learned from our daughter that you can take some of the bitter taste out by blanching them in water with a tablespoon of salt and baking soda.
These photos are from July 27.
I went to Polyface Farm on July 28 to purchase some meat and took the above and below photos on my way home. Polyface is in Swoope – just west of us..
Poor Len. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I hope we are keeping him comfortable with meds.
The only photo we got of our visitors. I’m on the right with my sister Melissa and my niece Mary.
Such a pleasant surprise to find these volunteers on August 11 at the base of the spruce tree between the house and the shed – an impatiens and a coleus.
I harvested these peppers on August 14.
I think it was back in July when I took some bricks and defined the beds around the plants in front of the shed. I think it turned out pretty nice.
Joe Pye Weed in the native garden on the morning of August 15.
Making our yummy tomato sauce on August 19.
I’m so sad that we have to take down this beautiful ash tree (on the right). The emerald ash borer has gotten to it so it can’t be saved.
$3000 poorer and down one beautiful shade tree. I will probably spend most of the day they take it down elsewhere.
Don’t like ending on a sad note, but here we are. I hope I keep up my posts with my photos as we enter the fall. It has been a very wet spring and summer. A little on the cool side, too. I’m hoping the valley will have some spectacular color this fall. Hard to believe it is almost September!
It’s not done yet but I had to share.
This color is a bold one for me.
I love it!
I’m planning to make a quilt out of 18th century dutch reproduction fabrics for that empty wall.
I think I’ve found my go to plant for my front porch – caladiums. They get just a little bit of sun in the early morning. They are already putting out new leaves and I planted them less than two weeks ago.
Yesterday morning I decided to take photos of our mostly native garden to share here.
We’ve had so much rain that the spittle bugs are causing damage. They are sap suckers and totally denuded our mountain rue. They now moved onto the redbud trees. Dave sprayed them with neem oil.
A couple weeks ago I found some containers half priced at a garden nursery. Above, you can see two of them. They are on the pine tree stumps.
This black-eyed susan is ready to burst with blooms.
The fencing is to keep Duke off. It helps some.
Impatiens are one of my favorite annuals.
A couple of weeks ago we took a morning walk just a 20 minute drive from us in the George Washington National Forest. It was early enough on a hot day that we were comfortable even in the sun.
We started to go up this path which led into the woods. It soon got muddy so we turned back. We’ll do that loop another day.
Those are two red winged black birds on the cattails in the middle of the photo above.
Iris blooming in front of the Soft Rush.
We’ve been harvesting strawberries for about 2 weeks now. They are big and beautiful and lacking in flavor. I’m guessing that is because we had so much rain while they were ripening. Our weather is perfect this week and the berries taste a little better.
Some of the rain came in the form of fierce storms. After once such storm we noticed that one of our big elms in the front yard is splitting in two! One estimate is $3400 to take it down. Ouch! We are now looking into the possibility of cabling it.
An opossum inside the tree crack.
Here are some photos I took yesterday of our mostly native plant garden that was planted by The Natural Garden of Harrisonburg. Above is a little Fringe Tree. It’s showing a lot of flirty blooms and new growth.
The purple blooms in the left background are wild geraniums. The white blooms in the foreground are woodland stonecrop. The mass of green in the middle is bleeding heart. I read it doesn’t transplant well but this did. I think you can still see some of it’s white and pink blooms.
Most of the rhododendrons are doing well. There is one that was planted right next to a stump that is dying and TNG is going to replace it. Some of the rhododendrons are have a bloom or two and showing new growth.
Smokey takes a walk. I love this stone. I was really impressed with their stonework. That is a creeping thyme between the walkway and the stone. Most of that survived the winter. TNG replaced what didn’t when they were here on Wednesday. I wonder if it will ever cover the entire area between the walkway stones.
That is strawberry that covers the ground around the redbud tree. It has a lot of berries and blooms. We have to decide if we want to remove it. It is being a bit of a bully. Otherwise, we will have to keep cutting it back. We already transplanted some of it last fall. That, too, is doing well.
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted because I broke my left wrist. I slipped on some ice in the driveway. It has slowed me down quite a bit. Good and frustrating at the same time.
Above is a spice bush we discovered back in March. I’d been keeping an eye out for one. This poor thing was engulfed by honeysuckle vine and bush. Dave came to it’s rescue.
You can see where the honeysuckle vine was wrapped around it’s trunk in the above photo.
It has a pretty little bloom.
A bloom on one of our Paw Paw trees.
The chokeberries we planted last fall finally bloomed a couple weeks ago. I was expecting more pollinators enjoying it. Instead, the ants seemed to love the blooms. Will have to investigate if that is normal.
They had a faint, sweet scent.
Samantha and her boyfriend, Luca, helped us unearth these willows back in February and March. I showed a photo and mentioned identifying them in my Feb 20 post. Fortunately, the honeysuckle that was on the tree hadn’t reached strangling proportions but they had to beat back a lot of it to reach the tree itself. Here, I caught a photo with it’s new leaves. A pretty yellow green that we can now identify in the distance when we look out the family room window.
On one of my walks around our property I found some blooms reaching out from a honeysuckle bush that I knew wasn’t honeysuckle. A couple days later Dave came to the rescue again and freed this Blackhaw Viburnum.
A beautiful white flower. I can’t wait to see this in bloom next year.
Another Blackhaw underneath honeysuckle. We’ll go after this another time.
Can you see the Blackhaw behind all this honeysuckle? Another that will have to wait.
These beautiful mushrooms arrive earlier last week.
Among the flowering Woodland Stonecrop
Len enjoys the cool grass on a pretty morning.
We’ve had a lot of rain this week. It started off with a bad storm Monday evening when we got over 2 inches of rain in an hour. The next day Dave noticed that our brick wall had finally tumbled. Fixing the driveway has just become a priority. It’s a good thing the plasterers finally came on Thursday and replastered the parlor ceiling and one wall in the front guestroom and patched up the walls in the dining room.
The silver maples along the road are starting to bud.
These poor trees have been topped by the power company for decades.
We talked about taking them down but I’m sure they are home to the screech and hoot owls we hear and other creatures, too.
They’ll stay for now.
I think there are eight of them.
I should have gotten a far away shot of them. Will try to do that tomorrow.