A damp late summer

In this very wet late summer I have continued to plant enthusiastically, dividing and transplanting from thick clumps in areas that are overpopulated, and ordering ferns and native orchids to plug into every small gap in shaded parts of the garden. This is work that typically is planned (if it’s planned at all) for spring or autumn, but with recent mild temperatures and daily rainfall I can’t help myself.

A newly planted Onychium japonicum ‘Sichuan Lace’.

I must stop adding to the ever growing collection of ferns to apply some measure of self control, and so that more thought is given to placement than only where another will fit. Certainly, I’m not complaining, and there’s little doubt that spots for more ferns (and orchids, and other treasures) can be found, but after a few moments of contemplation.

Two dark leafed crape myrtles have been planted in somewhat drier areas of the swampy lower garden. One replaced a Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) that struggled for several years in the dampness. It didn’t die, but it didn’t grow, and probably never would have. I’m far less than certain that the crape myrtles will tolerate the moist soil, but at least there was no standing water at the bottom of the holes I dug, and after so much recent rainfall this was a pleasant surprise.

‘Rumblin’ Red’ (above) and ‘Purple Light’ (below) are recent introductions from the Thunderstruck series of crape myrtles, combining very dark leaves with fast growth. I am not particularly keen on crape myrtles, but that is in the context of collections of dozens of other trees, so the addition of two makes five crape myrtles in the garden. Certainly, not the mark of a collection out of control, and while I’ve barked in recent years that there’s no space for additional trees, this damp area has been slow to be planted while I figure choices that will tolerate the wetness.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. That Purple Light strikes my fancy! I do like crape myrtles, given that their peak bloom here coincides with a general lack of other blooms due to heat exhaustion. Question for you: given how damp your garden is, and its abundant water, how on earth do you withstand or control the mosquitoes? I’ve barely been able to go out and pull weeds for some weeks now, they’re just awful this summer. And it’s too hot to cover up completely. Any tips? I’ve been reduced to placing Tiki torches around my vegetable garden just so I can give it basic care.

    1. Dave says:

      Since there are fewer flowering plants in the shady area around the patios, I’m able to spray an organic repellent that keeps the numbers of mosquitoes to tolerable levels. The oil in the repellent will injure or kill bees if it contacts them, but then it is only a repellent with no pesticide. There are so many dragonflies by the koi pond that mosquitoes are rarely a problem and the dragonflies are very well fed.

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