For about 2 weeks now, however, my ears have been telling me it is mid- to late September. The cicadas are extremely loud and out there every evening. My nose is smelling that cooler slightly moist air that means fall. The air is heavy and still. At night the temperatures are dropping into the low 70s, and once or twice into the high 60s. That is NOT August weather. The sun feels warm on my skin, not searingly hot.
According to the calendar, it is only mid-August. That means it is summer. I’m sure mid-August used to FEEL like summer. Hazy, hot, humid. Time for our week’s vacation down the shore. By now the water will be warm which means more likelihood of jellyfish. (Except THIS year, in keeping with everything else 2020, the water has sea lice. I would rather have jellyfish.)
It sounds and feels like mid-September. It is only the dratted no-see-ums that remind me it is still summer.
This weekend the weather was GLORIOUS! No humidity, low 80s, sunshine – just perfect weather. Beginning on Friday afternoon I began psyching myself for waking early on Saturday to go out and tackle the evergreens in front of the house, which were in desperate need of pruning. I got up a little before 7:30 am, fed the cats, cleaned their litter boxes, and headed out to tackle the pruning. My husband left, came back, left again, came back. When I finally finished all I’d hoped to do, and bagged the evidence, I’d been out there for 5 hours, utilizing 2 different step ladders. Even as I type now, I feel the strain in my muscles. Ouch.
On the other hand, although my body feels battered and bruised, the hedge and garden are looking extremely fine, in my opinion (does anyone else’s opinion matter for this???). I even tackled the willow bush along the driveway so that I can pull my car further up without fearing for the paint job. No pictures of that so you’ll have to take my word for it. Would I lie to you, honey? Now would I say something that wasn’t true? *grin*
I spent several hours on the hedge alone – getting the front, top, back and sides. I usually try to do this in the spring, before the flowers are growing, so that it’s easier to clean up the cuttings. I had to keep moving the large step ladder around the dahlias, trying not to damage them. I did at one point lose my balance anyway (on the ground, NOT on the ladder, go figure) and ended up falling on one of the dahlias. 😦 Thankfully I only damaged a piece of it, not the whole plant. There will still be flowers. I don’t use an electric hedge clipper. I use manual loppers and take my time to step back a distance and see what I’ve been doing. My goal is to take the top down sufficiently far to allow air and light to come into the front sun room under the awning, without losing the privacy we get from the hedge. I’d estimate I took off at least 8 inches from the top. I also pruned the little golden arborvitae a bit – took a bit off the top and the side by the golden rod.
I also trim the front and sides to give room to the other bushes and flowers there. The one side was reaching out to the andromeda bush and the other side was into the potted plants along the front walk. Perhaps the ‘ickiest’ part of the pruning is the back – clearing a path between the hedge and the house. That’s where the spiders hang out. Ick. Yes, yes, I KNOW they eat bugs. But I don’t like them or their webs touching me. *shudder* I go through first with a broom to clear anything like that before I start cutting. I had a lot of encouragement from the butterflies. Both the black swallowtail and the monarch butterflies were flitting about.
Once I finally got the hedge under control, and took a few cuts at the forsythia on the corner of the sun room, I worked on the willow bush along the driveway. I’d hacked it back in the winter when we were due for a huge wet snowfall. I learned in the past that huge, wet snowfalls cause the willow to bend all the way into the driveway and until we clear that bush, we can’t move the cars. It’s been a wet spring and the willow has flourished. I also trimmed up the pots along the front walk, and weeded them, and removed the ones that were done for the year. I was doing my best “energizer bunny” imitation. 🙂 I am delighted that FINALLY the canna lilies in the front pots are blooming. Sure took them long enough. I still see very little evidence that the ones in the other pot will flower. 😦
After all of the pruning is done, then comes cleanup. Had I seen any evidence of the teenage boy who supposedly lives next door, I’d have tried to hire him to do get the debris into the big brown lawn bags. But as is usual this summer, there was no sign of life there, so I bagged 4 brown bags full of debris. Ouch. Anyway, I think it’s looking fine now, and there is air and light in the sun room. You can see the metal heron between the bushes. Even the metal & rocks art sculpture can be seen. Pruning the rhododendron and tying up the forsythia will have to wait til fall. I’m not sure my muscles will recover before then. 🙂
It’s happening!!! It’s really happening! Spring is on its way here! I have 3 bags of bulbs sitting in the front hall. Alert to my sister: 15 of the gladiolas are for YOU! Maybe if you’re REALLY nice I’ll let you have a few of the 9 canna lilies also. But I really love my cannas. I’m NOT sharing the dahlias – get your own. *grin*
Just 2 weeks ago there was snow on the ground and the little green shoots were being brave and pushing through. Now there is gorgeous sunshine and the snow is gone and everyone has room to stretch and grow.
It’s really hot out there today. “Real feels” between 105-110. That means that I need to be running the a/c, and I am staying inside. I always feel so imprisoned with the windows closed. Even though I am in my (beach-y) sun room, looking out at plants, including potted palms, I feel locked-up. To combat my cabin-fever I went out at lunch to visit the plants. It was a short visit, because while they seem to be doing fine, I could feel the heat burning through my clothes. It’s REALLY hot.
The dahlias seem to be thriving on our burning-hot now pouring-rain now burning-hot weather. Also the mandevilla and the succulents. According to the internet several of the succulents are supposed to flower, but only the Tiny Tangerine Bulbine Frutescens seems to have gotten the notice. I had no idea that the Rick-Rack Orchid cactus could grow to be a hanging plant. I wonder if it feels cramped in my pot between the ever-encroaching sedum and the octopus aloe? I may try to take a cutting and plant it somewhere else. There will be a lot of light in the breakfast room now. And a huge, high beam that could hold hanging planters. I think in the past I may have had lampranthus deltoides and had them flower, but I could be remembering some other succulent with little pink flowers.
Last year I brought in that huge red planter with the succulents. The pot weighs a ton, and only 1 of the plants survived the winter and the cats (the sedum, of course). I wasn’t planning to bring the pot in again this year because of the weight, the cats and changed floor plan. I may have to rethink that or I may need to transplant all of the succulents into smaller pots and bring them in. I really like this batch. I would love to see the octopus aloe flower. Of course the question is always – are these poisonous/fatal if ingested by cats? Trying to protect plants from BC is not a simple task.
I was thinking of bringing one or more of the potted palms inside for the winter. I have 3 of them, and I’d like to try to have at least one winter over. I’d need to find a place with a lot of light (the breakfast room) and minimal cat access. Not many places like that in my house. I did a search just now and it appears that the palms are safe for the cats, so I guess if I don’t mind dirt hitting the floor, or some chewed up leaves (and residual cat ‘deposits’), this may be a plan. 🙂 I’d need to figure out a good water-containing base, however, as I have a tendency to over-water.