The season has changed, but even with one ninety degree day after the other, the garden has not quite turned to its summer look. What look? Hostas in part sun fade, other broadleafs lose their vibrant coloring (reds and greens), and by mid season many will show a little crispiness around the edges.
This garden is not irrigated. Yes, I can stretch a hose out to reach about half, but I don’t. Many plants have never been watered (except naturally), so despite what sometimes seems a careless approach to siting plants, most are placed where they can thrive from the start. I think that summer irrigation makes only a small difference, though unquestionably new plantings are kept alive. The garden changes in summer, mostly for the worse, but far from horrible. It is only the contrast with spring that makes the summer garden disappointing at all.
Most plants are tolerant of a range of conditions, so little attention is needed for placement, but others are not so forgiving, so I try as best I can to duplicate their native habitats. This, of course, is subject to a number of variables outside my control, and not always successful.
There are no deep, moist, but well drained soils in shaded areas, but an area where piled leaves decay year after year can be almost as good, even if the soil is shallow. My wife marvels at the number of earthworms uncovered anytime she’s tidying up, and I have to figure if there are this many worms, something must be right about the nearby soil. I suppose that successful planting in areas that should be difficult dry shade proves this out.
I am pleased that rainfall has settled back to an almost normal level, though the total where I am is still up over eight inches on the year. Another big dogwood and a Vernal witch hazel are not doing well in the lower third of the rear garden, though after considerable trenching it is now dry enough to walk around without sinking too much. While I occasionally see tracks in the mud, deer still avoid much of the area that is swampy, that I stay out of as well. At least, I’m no longer hoping for a summer drought to dry this place out.