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Archive for July, 2012

High summer has arrived at Cricket Hill Garden. We feel ourselves very fortunate to have thus far been spared the punishing drought which has stricken much of the central and western Unites States. The July rains in northwestern Connecticut have allowed the summer perennials to fully develop and come into bloom. Some of these, such as the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) are even a bit too exuberant and need to be trimmed back. Overall though, our summer garden aesthetic is one of only mildly controlled exuberance and boundless fecundity. It invites the wanderer to explore semi-obscured garden paths, to stumble upon a hidden clump of Cone flower (Echinacea purpurea) attended by a swallow tail butterfly and maybe meet a nymph or two before the winding paths eventually lead out of the colorful thicket. We know this style of gardening is not for everyone; well manicured perennials and straight lines are nowhere to be found.

A summer splendor of (from left to right): clumping bamboo Fargesia nitida, butterfly bushes Buddleia davidii , phlox, milk weed and the luminous glass sculptures of Mundy Hepburn.

A mix of perennials and annuals fill the empty spaces between the tree peonies in this terrace; perilla, anise hyssop and artemesia.

It is important that the area immediately around peonies be free from obstruction. Full sun ensures good bud development for next year while good air circulation goes a long way in helping to prevent fungal infections from taking hold. Full sun on tree peonies will show some sun scald this time of year, as evident in the foreground, with some yellowing of the foliage.

Our native Goldenrod Solidago ssp., usually classified as a “weed” has a place in the summer palette with phlox. The swirling bronze sculpture is by Nancy Linkin.

See more beautiful sculpture at www.nancylinkin.com

Tree peonies with some high shade in summer with retain the rich green color of the foliage.

A variety of native flowering perennials attract many different species of butterflies to the summer garden. These tree peonies are happy to coexist with the anise hyssop and echinacea.

Tree peony seeds will be ready to be harvest in a couple more weeks. The pods are still too green and the seeds inside are not yet ready.

For herbaceous peonies, we like to leave at least 3 feet between plantings. This allows for summer interplanting of smaller annuals and perennials, so you have a long season of interest.

The boundary between embracing a “bountiful and fertile” aesthetic and total abandon is a very fine one….

A surprise plant in the east garden. We are not sure what this is. Likely planted from seed in 2011. Bloomed for the first time. Do you know it? We’d love to hear from you.

What does your summer garden look like? How do you interplant perennials and annuals with your peonies? We would love to hear and see your photos. You can post to our facebook page.

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