Thursday morning I went outside just after sunrise, when the sky was simply heat-haze coloured as opposed to blue, to take a walk around the gardens and record what they look like while we wait to see if Hurricane Earl comes a-calling. It seemed like a good idea to have a look at the mass of bloom still happening in my garden, when things are relatively tidy and floriferous and there wasn't a breath of wind to disturb the scene. So although it's not really sky-oriented, this is my offering for this week's Skywatch Friday.
A variety of hydrangeas provide a backdrop for this wash of perennials, evergreen and deciduous shrubs. I refer to this as my mini-prairie-in-progress, with panic grass, rudbeckias, and other coneflowers consorting with bee-enticing plants such as agastaches and eryngiums. The bees were extremely busy this morning, loving the heat, and perhaps knowing that there is inclement weather coming. They bustle around the garden, diving into flowers and essentially ignoring me. I listen to them and smile a lot.
My coneflowers are still going very strong in their bed. I mentioned on Facebook that Longsuffering Spouse kindly edged around this bed on the weekend, cutting out a good foot of sod and then adding well-composted manure to the bare ground. In a few weeks time, it'll be perfectly suited for tucking in some springflowering bulbs, and next spring I'll spread the perennials out, moving some of the coneflowers forward and letting the taller ones work as a backdrop.
The outburst of gold in the centre foreground is Solidago 'Little Lemon', a cultivated goldenrod sent to me last year by Dugald Cameron of GardenImport. It's thriving beautifully, and is becoming one of my favourite later-season flowers. I plan to divide the plant and move it to another bed where it can spread out and consort with eupatorium and other later-season stars.
Signs of the closing down of summer: some of the miscanthus are beginning to put up their tall, wispily elegant flower heads over their fountaining foliage, while Actaea 'Pink Spike' is in full bloom. Tanacetum 'Isla Gold' is blooming enthusiastically, although I plant it more for its gold foliage, which is starting to fade to a bright lime green now, and Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' is still providing lots of food for the lingering hummingbirds. It'll be interesting to see if they stay beyond tomorrow or if they take off on their migration before the arrival of Earl.
We're not terribly concerned about Earl, whether he arrives as a hurricane or a tropical storm. Living in a rural community on the shores of the Bay of Fundy means that we expect bombastic weather from time to time, and we are generally prepared for it. Those of you who are regular readers know that we get truly rude winter storms, and usually at least one tropical storm or diminishing hurricane as summer winds down. So things may be messy on Saturday, and there may be some flattened flowers and defoliated shrubs come Sunday, but I'd sooner that we took the brunt of it than the apple and pear producers down in the Valley below us. It could be a difficult weekend for them.