03 September 2010

Skywatch Friday: The calm before Earl...

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.


  1. Jodi - you have such a gift for making your readers feel like they are walking around the garden with you. Your gardens look mythical - maybe it's the atmospheric glimmer that gives it that 'other-worldly' appeal?

    I'm trying to pay attention to your taller plants - I'm looking for a backdrop to a future garden? (I'm in Zone 5 - Midwest) Height is key - not width. Something 'architectural'? Any thoughts?

    (Good luck w/ Earl - & hoping he's uneventful!) --Shyrlene

  2. You have such a beautiful garden Jodi. I pray the hurricane doesn't hit your area. Living on the west coast those storms are foreign to us.

  3. I hope Big Earl wears himself out before he gets up your way. Your garden looks so pretty now. Be safe. This will definitely be a Sky Watch Friday for you.

  4. I love your writing, pure poetry -wispily elegant flower heads over their fountaining foliage...
    Take care and hold on to your hat!

  5. Jodi, your garden is looking lush and full of blooms despite the heat. I was thinking along similar lines, planning on taking my camera out tonight while flowers and plants are still intact. No idea what will come tomorrow (depends on what weather station you listen to). Take care.

  6. Your garden looks really good! I sure wish our summer had brought more rainfall earlier. I might be more happy with what's growing in our garden. I need to get out and do some serious edging this weekend. Thanks for the reminder. ;) Good luck with the storm!

  7. I'm jealous; a hurricane is a bit of drama, especially if you're ready for it. It beats the hell out of a gloomy going-nowhere kind of day. Have a good (and safe) one!

  8. What an excellently splendid garden you have! Thanks for the tour.
    I had not realised that hurricanes went that far north.
    I too am often thankful that nasty things happen to me rather than someone else less able to cope.

  9. Oooh, I hope you take lots of storm photos!

  10. I hope Earl is kind to you Jodi. Your garden looks so lush and lovely. I love the early morning light. I too feel bad for all in the path of Earl's wrath. I would love a good soaking here ... I hope we get some rain at least. ;>)

  11. This is the time of year when I'm in awe of your garden...as my own gasps and sputters after surviving the heat of summer. I'm glad you are enjoying it, and hopefully Earl will be kind to you, your garden - and all of those apples and pears.

  12. Hi Jodi your garden looks great. I hope Earl fizzles out before it gets to you and is only a rain maker.
    Good luck

  13. I love always that beautiful sensitivity you have Jodi, you are a very special person, we will all be praying for the farmers down here in the ditch. We love our flowers but as all good gardeners should, we put food first in these times. Their living and survival is so important to our communities.

  14. Thanks for the poke around your garden. You have some beautiful blooms! Keep safe in the storm.


  15. Jodi, it was a pleasure to walk through your garden, to see it and to read abot it. I love your style!

  16. The garden photos are beautiful...I love the drama of the large plantings and hope they have made it through. Our miscanthus are down, as is the bean tepee and most everything else has been ravaged, but perhaps with a bit of sun, and new supports, all will be fine. Standing by to hear how you fared with Earl.

  17. Hi Jody: The storm missed us but from what we have heard you may have been right in the path of it.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

  18. On Saturday evening, I am thinking of you and hoping you are not blown away and the garden remains serene.

  19. Your garden is looking lovely. I hope that the hurricane did not do too much damage. The weather people indicated that Earl was not kind to Nova Scotia.

  20. Hi, I LOVE the idea of digging a border in front of the garden for bulbs. I've mixed mine in the beds and then either have bare spots or feel compelled to fill in with annuals. I'm going to try this in a few spots this year and see what happens!

  21. Monday morning here, and sunny, after a cool, windy weekend. Earl didn't even give us a good rain shower, just that nasty wind to dry things out even more. Drat! So yesterday I had to water again.
    It's shades of autumn here too, and like you, I'm feeling rather sad about the approaching demise of summer. It goes so quickly!
    But - I'm happy to see that your garden is blooming beautifully. The long shots are always so interesting.
    Fancy still having Monarda blooming!
    You have a glorious collection of coneflowers. Enjoyed that post very much, and also caught up on all your latest doings.
    Cape Split is such an amazing place! I could smell that wonderful sea air!
    Enjoy these last summer days, Jodi, and the coming autumn. I hope we get a long, warm one with plenty of soft, sunny days to potter, and move, thin out, tidy..and plant a few more perennials!

  22. Jodi, How was the storm or was it pretty much played out when it got there~Your garden looks wonderful~ gail

  23. Fortunately, I heard on the news this evening that even the apple orchards merely had their fruit thinned a bit with no real damage. Your garden is simply beautiful, jodi. I hope it weathered Earl as well.


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