When the weather heats up, the flowers come at you fast. Sometimes it seems like a plant will grow six inches overnight. The dahlias we planted a few weeks ago are already blooming. The sweet peas are taller than me. The hydrangeas that once looked like a lackluster group of sticks are now full of blossoms. July is when the gardens start to hit their stride.
Those tall sweet peas in the Garden of Hope have been in bloom for a couple of weeks now, and I am still in love with them. Their soft fragrance is enough to make me stop and take a deep breath. They also remind me how we are all connected. The veining in the petals of sweet pea ‘Fire and Ice’ (Lathyrus odoratus) below illustrates its dependence on this earth for life. The plant draws up water and nutrients from the soil that reach all the way to the newest petals forming. The earth is life. The way we treat the garden directly impacts all of the flowers (and bees that feed on the flowers).
Not far away from the sweet peas, the many blue tones of bachelor buttons ‘Classic Fantastic’ lean out into the gravel path. I started these in plug trays in the greenhouse, then we hardened them off and planted them out in the Cutting Garden in early spring. Anyone who has ever grown anything from seed to blossom will know that sense of satisfaction seeing a plant bloom beautifully. Participating in the full process of seed to flower is something I consider to be one of the best parts of gardening (although please forgive me if I say that about all of gardening).
This reminds me that every action I take along the way impacts the growth and health of the plants. Our actions in the gardens have a cumulative impact. We cannot treat the soil poorly or forget to water or put the plants under a bench with no light. They need the proper conditions to thrive.
Not all of our interesting plants are done from seed. This perennial meadowsweet currently in flower near the path in the Rose Garden was purchased last year from Issima nursery (you can find their website here). It is so soft and sweet. The perfect match for the romance of the Rose Garden. I have visited Issima and find the joy and excitement Ed and Taylor have for their plants to be infectious. When plants are grown with care, it is evident for years and years.
From soft and sweet, to classic summer blooms. Hydrangea ‘Alpengluhen’ (AKA ‘Glowing Embers’) brings a stunning welcome to July. When the hydrangeas bloom, I know we are truly in summer (as if last week’s slew of humid 90 degree days wasn’t enough). These large blossoms are a long-lived garden plant. Even once their bloom has past, the spent flowers hang on and make lovely additions to dried arrangements.
There are so many places around the property worthy of a highlight this time of year. These select photos are here to entice and inspire you in your own garden. Will you start flowers from seed next year? Will you support a local nursery? Will you take a moment to think about the impact we have on this earth in our gardens? Whatever you choose, I know you will find beauty in the garden.
Gardening is a privilege that we can all participate in together. Each of our gardens is connected whether we realize it or not. Birds, bees, and bunnies don’t know where our boundary lines are drawn. They only know this earth that supports them. May we garden with this in mind, always.