I’ll be honest; July didn’t start out well for the garden. The last week of June we got hit with a real hot streak. Day after day of 100+ degree weather was hitting the garden hard. Up until the end of June, I had been watering by hand and it just wasn’t cutting it. The grass around the raised beds was looking parched and crispy, the flowers were doing okay but not great. They weren’t thriving like I had hoped, I was getting flowers but everything looked stressed, and a bit sad.
And the zinnias…oh the zinnias were looking so very pitiful. They were being nibbled away at each night, and a dozen or more plants had turned a sickly yellow color. On the sick plants the leaves were curled and brown at the edges, and what few blooms it would produce would be malformed. There were very few buds on the zinnias that looked relatively health, and all the plants looked slightly stunted. In a fit of frustration I almost pulled them all out one morning. Once the frustration wore off, stubbornness kicked in and I decided to tackled the problem one step at a time. First step: deal with whatever critter where eating them each night. Snail bate and pest powder were applied the following day. Next step: remove unhealthy plants completely. If it was a disease that was affecting the zinnias I didn’t want to risk it spreading to healthy plants. I pulled out quite a few plants and heavily pruned back any that were partially affected. Final step: fertilization, I scattered bone meal at the base of the zinnias, and sprinkled some Triple 15 around the roots.
The biggest boost the garden got was a better watering system. Justin hooked up an oscillating sprinkler and set it on a timer. The garden is watered early in the morning for a specific amount of time. I was a little concerned about how the over-head watering would affecting the quality of the blooms, or that the roses and dahlias would start to mildew or bruise. So far, everything seems to love the new watering system and I am loving having extra time in the morning!
The one area in the garden that I’m most disappointed with is my dahlias. I didn’t take the time this past spring to order a really nice selection of dahlia tubers from reputable sellers. I had a few left from last summer that have done well (mostly my white dinner plate dahlias). I purchase one Cafe Au Latte dahlia from Eden’s Brothers and it’s lovely, but the rest are just cheap tubers I picked up locally and they haven’t done well. There’s always next year though, and I have all fall and winter to decide what I’m going to plant next spring.
Ah, but the sunflowers! They are magnificent this year! Two rows of mixed sunflowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I bring them in by the armload and they last a full week in a vase, even a little longer if I keep the water changed.
I can’t get enough of these dark chocolate sunflowers.
Here’s a good sampling of all the varieties I have this year. I also scattered some Teddy Bear sunflowers in but so far none have bloomed. No worries though, I just planted 65 Teddy Bear sunflowers on the edge of the pumpkin patch and almost all of them have sprouted, so we should be swimming in them this fall!
I picked up a vintage coffee can a few weeks ago while I was antiquing with Stephanie. I love the way the garden flowers look in my “new” coffee tin. I just need about a dozen more…
This row of cosmos I didn’t get planted until late April (it’s about three weeks behind the rest of the garden), so they don’t have any buds on them yet, but hopefully soon. After last summer’s giant cosmos fail, I’m a little concerned I’ll end up with more flowerless cosmos bushes.
The orange and double click cosmos I planted early in the spring are covered with buds, which does my heart good!
The Amaranthus is still looking gorgeous. I harvested the first flush of flowers and now a second bloom is coming on. If you want to grow a unique, richly colored, incredibly hardy plant, amaranthus is your best bet. This is the “Love-lies-bleeding” variety but it also comes in a gorgeous bright green color as well. It looks fabulous drooping down the side of a vase.
And our pumpkins! They are doing fantastic! I couldn’t be more pleased. I took these photos just one week ago and they have all doubled in size, maybe even more. No blossoms yet but they are looking quite happy and healthy so far.
Last but not least; the garden in review-
Thanks for once again indulging me with one of my lengthy garden posts
Next month we should have lots more flowers and some pumpkin blooms!
Have a wonderful week my friends, April