Thursday, July 5, 2007 | | Gardens, How, When, What-we-do
I’ve worked in Bristol, RI – home of the oldest (longest, biggest, bestest) 4th of July parade in the country – for a few years but now that I’m an actual Bristol resident I can tell you the 4th lasts at least a month (and is plenty fun and noisy)! I’m pretty sure mandatory parade attendance was written into our purchase and sales agreement and I am running the risk of expulsion because mine is the only house in town not draped in red-white-n-blue bunting. The fourth is a big deal here at Blithewold too (at least for Gail and me) because it marks the day we clap dirt off our hands, rest them on our hips and say “Well done! – time for a vacation!” So Gail’s off for a couple of weeks and I had an event-full 5 day weekend!
One day, at this time of year, is long time to be away from the garden but after 5 days it seems like everyone has grown up and gone off to college! The daylilies along the path to the water garden look like they’ve already been blooming for awhile and the Nicotiana sylvestris in the Rose Garden which I described as the size of teakettles no more than a week ago are the size of totebags now. The North Garden was the most changed. Daily plucking of the daylilies will commence today, and the roses and lady’s mantle were due for massive deadheading. The roses (Rosa ‘Ballerina’) have set tons more buds and a greenish day today will certainly be followed by pinker pinks very soon. Rain overnight made for wet work in the garden – don’t do as we do! Even in the wet we have to keep the gardens looking well tended for visitors and we take the risk of compacting the soil by stepping in the beds. Unless you’re on the garden tour tomorrow, give your garden a chance to dry out before walking on it! Plus I can tell you because I know, wet pant legs and sodden shoes are a chilly bummer.
The day after Independence Day seems like the right sort of day to talk about going Back To The Crown: Some plants like lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) which send blooms out from a basal clump, can be deadheaded by cutting the flower stalk all the way down at the ground. Some might find it more patriotic to cut the blooms off at a leaf but the stumps and papery left leaves are an unsightly contrast to the fresh growth unfurling from the crown!