Lychnis coronaria, rose campion


Rose campion, Lychnis coronaria

Rose campion, Lychnis coronaria


Summer gardening skills: Perseverance

It’s getting to that point in the season when I feel that heading out into garden demands mental toughness. The weeds are well out of control. Spring flowers like iris and peonies have finished their run, but the summer flowers haven’t hit their stride. There’s just not much going on, except for weeds. And deadheading.

Temperatures today will hit 90F (32.2 C), and this is just the beginning of summer. The vegetables want water, and by late afternoon everything else in the garden will look as though it wants some, too, though most of my plants are resilient enough not to need it just yet. Heavy mulching helps this time of year, but spreading heavy loads of mulch this time of year requires more of that mental toughness. It’s hard to summon when it’s hot outside.

Fat daylily buds demand a shower of deer repellant. The lilies lost that fight overnight.

Daylily buds are growing fat, and will look beautiful if the deer don't eat them.

Daylily buds are growing fat, and will look beautiful if the deer don’t eat them.

Rose campion gives me a little boost. This self-seeding annual requires no help from me. It works as an attractive groundcover when not in bloom. In four years, I’ve gotten to the point where managing it is becoming a bit of a chore, but as long as I cut it back before the seed pods set, I’ll be fine.

Dots of magenta rose campion light up the afternoon shade.

Dots of magenta rose campion light up the afternoon shade.

When I step outdoors, I feel the heat and humidity suck the energy out of me, like a child sucking up the last of a glass of milk with a straw. My best trick for gardening in the summer heat is to do it in small chunks. Ten minutes here, five minutes there. Leave a few minutes early for the errand so I can pull the new weeds by the front walk. A short walk in the shade at the end of the day with scissors in hand lets me trim off the spent stalks of iris and the roses that are dropping their petals.

It’s a long summer ahead. I’ll take it bit by bit.



Backyard Blooms: Plants in flower this week

I’m taking a break this week, but here’s what’s blooming in my Zone 7 garden right now.

yellow lily and campion

An unknown variety of yellow Asiatic lily, and rose campion (Lychnis coronaria). The rose campion is a perennial, with an evergreen foliage rosette. It reseeds readily but is not difficult to manage.

I didn’t actually plan to combine these plants; I thought I was buying a variety of lily that had a similar color to the rose campion, but darker. I guess the garden powers-that-be had better ideas in mind. I love these happy accidents.