Thursday, August 11, 2016

Straggling in to the End of Summer

Here in Massachusetts we've been having a drought, so we were all so thankful to finally get some rain yesterday.

Hibiscus 'Cranberry Crush'
It's been so hot this summer that I've had trouble going out to the garden to weed.  (How did I use to garden down south in North Carolina?)  My garden is looking rather neglected.


Every summer I wonder why it is that the weeds thrive on heat and drought, while the plants we want throw up their hands and cry uncle.  Thankfully many of my plants are pretty drought tolerant - or at least the ones that aren't drought tolerant have died already so I don't notice them anymore.  (Sometimes it pays to have a short memory.)

Thank goodness for Purple Coneflowers and Cosmos!
The veggie garden has been a struggle this year.  The plants are doing fine, but I am not reaping the fruits of my labors.

half-eaten green tomato
The chipmunks, on the other hand, obviously feel like they are at an all-you-can-eat garden buffet.  They've eaten almost every tomato and ground cherry the garden has produced.

I no longer think chipmunks are cute.

At least the chipmunks don't like onions!
The snakes that used to live out behind our neighbor's house must have moved away as we've seen so many critters move in this summer in addition to the normal band of roving deer.  One rascally groundhog, a small horde of chipmunks, and two bunnies have settled in this year.  (I'm expecting around 100 little bunnies next year.)


But I've spotted a few beauties around the garden, too.

Clearwing Moth and Lantana
I always welcome the pollinators to the garden.

bee on Liatris
It is interesting how different years see rises in different populations of butterflies.  While I haven't seen a lot of butterflies in general this year, there have been a number of Swallowtail butterflies, especially Spicebush Swallowtails, which I am delighted by.


In other news, this past weekend marked five years since I started the Red House Garden blog.  I can't believe it's been five years already.


Happy gardening, everyone!

27 comments:

  1. Great pics!

    I have a Liatris (L. spicata, I think) and I do like the flowers, but I never see any pollinators at them. Perhaps it's because I just have the one plant and I've heard that pollinators generally like to visit a broad (several square feet) patch of a specific kind of flower?

    It's so hot and humid here in Tennessee that many of the purple coneflowers are dying back - especially the ones that get afternoon sun. I don't think they're actually dying, but rather going dormant early. Still, the seedheads stand tall and provide food for the colorful goldfinches :)

    You definitely need some sort of predator - snake? hawk? owl? - to help with those critters!

    PS - Amazing shot of the clearwing moth with Lantana!! What camera do you use?

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    1. Thanks! I have a Canon T2i, and I used a zoom lens for that pic. I don't see as many pollinators on my Liatris as I would expect either, but my stand is rather small, too. I think the bees pick out plants they can visit as a group. Right now they are all buzzing over my large stand of Joe-pye weed. :)

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  2. Congratulations on five years! The photos of the Spicebush Swallowtail and the Clearwing Moth are amazing! My garden was getting a little dry in July, and then we started getting rain. Always just enough to keep the plants healthy until the next rain. But it has been hot and humid here, so the mosquito population is about as bad is it gets. Even when I put on repellent, they find little spots that I missed and go for it! I agree: Thank goodness for Echinacea and Cosmos, no matter what the weather!

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    1. Thanks! I guess one good thing about the dryer weather is fewer mosquitos, right?

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  3. I too am a fair-weather friend to my garden! We have had some unseasonably cool and rainy weather this week, and it's amazing all the weeding and deadheading I've managed to get done!
    We have squirrels and bunnies too, but we also have a couple of cats that roam the neighborhood--including my vegetable garden--regularly. I'm not sure if that's what is keeping the little munchers out of my garden, but whatever it is, I'll take it! My children, on the other hand, forage regularly. Hey--at least they're getting their vegetables, right? :)

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    1. I think I need some roaming cats! And children are always allowed to forage the garden - anything to get those fruits and veggies in! That's one of the reasons I'm so mad at the chipmunks. The kids usually love foraging the ground cherries.

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  4. From one All-You-Can-Eat Buffet provider to another, congratulations on five years!

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    1. Thank you! Don't you wish we could charge them for all these daily buffet visits?

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  5. Congratulations on five years, that's great!
    Love the hummingbird moth photo. I was watching a few hummingbirds and for the life of me I couldn't imagine how people photograph these and other quick moving insects and birds.
    Your front walk looks great with the cosmos, not drought ravaged at all, but I'm sure the dry weather is no fun for the rest of the garden. We finally had some rain and now it's been a nearly weekly thing. I don't know what to do with myself with the grass greening and things not needing water!

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    1. Hummingbirds are tough to photograph! Some of the best photos I got of hummingbirds was last summer when a hummingbird would visit the clump of cosmos right by a window at the same time every day. I laid wait with my camera on a very fast shutter speed. Still tough! We have finally gotten a couple good thunderstorms, which I am so thankful for.

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  6. Greetings from Finland! Stumbled upon your blog from another nordig bloglist. It´s fun to see how many same flowers you have in your garden as we have in northern Europe. Coneflowers are my favourite :)

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    1. So glad you found my blog! That is really awesome that you grow some of the same flowers. I didn't know they grew Coneflowers up in Finland. I look forward to reading your blog, too!

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  7. Congratulations on your 5 years of blogging. So many have fallen by the wayside. I sometimes wonder if they gave up gardening. WHo could blame them. I was telling my husband just this morning that I think gardening is the most frustrating and difficult of all hobbies. We are constantly bombarded with all kind of annoyances. The only way through it is to accept it. Your liatris blooming is a sure sign that fall is on the way. I fear it will be several months before ours blooms-if at all. Drought can do a number. Glad you got rain. I think we may get some this week. Your garden looks pretty even with the new round of wildlife.

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    1. With gardening I feel like there are new challenges every single year. Always more to learn! My garden is continually changing, but I think I like that somewhat, as I get bored easily :) I could do with less of the drought, bad weather, and garden pests though...

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  8. Happy fifth blogaversary!

    Second time I've seen Liatris today (perhaps the name will stay with me now?)

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    1. Liatris is native to America, so I'm not sure if you guys have them over there at all? The bees and butterflies love it, though!

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  9. Five years! Congratulations! I love reading your funny animal post but I hope for you that those 100 bunnies will find another garden to eat.

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  10. Happy fifth blogaversary! I have asked myself the same question over and over again this summer about the weeds--it seems like they can grow anywhere and under any conditions. With the heat this summer I have about given up the battle:) Sorry about your vegetables--I don't have critters in mine other than an invisible tomato worm that is attacking my tomato plants. Great capture of the clearwing moth; what a beauty!

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    1. Thank you! I'm only now getting around to weeding now that the weather is a little cooler. My poor neglected garden!

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  11. The heat and humidity in the Northeast got to me this month too, Indie, but we seem to be having a little break from it now. In any event your August garden is lovely! Happy blogaversary! P. x

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    1. I'm so glad the weather is turning a little cooler. I'm finally back to weeding!

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  12. I love your garden critters. It is so dry and hot here even the rabbits are hiding in their holes. The chipmunks are destroying my tomatoes too.

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    1. I think with the drought the chipmunks are drawn to water-filled fruit more. I've never seen them so naughty before!

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  13. Ah, the bunnies may look cute, but you really do not want 100. Move North in a huge country like the USA and you still get blistering Summers, move 200 miles North in this small land and you really can tell the difference.

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    1. The summers are at least slightly cooler here, but the problem is that I think my body has acclimated to the colder winters, so it still feels too hot to me! You really dealt with some cold weather gardening there, though. I'm sure you are enjoying being in a warmer zone now!

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  14. Congratulations on your five year blogaversary. Pesky varmits! Thanks for the link ot ground cherries, new to me. It might be fun to grow them some year.

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