And so starts August

P8020002.jpgWe’ve had pretty heavy rains all week this week, and the flowers in bloom in the garden are really starting to show the strain of all the water weight. The Shasta daisies in particular have mostly flopped over and started to rot, turning into a most unattractive slime heap. Ick. So I went out and deadheaded madly this afternoon, sorry to see the sweeps of pretty white go. I have high hopes for a second bloom, though. What a success these guys have been this year. I definitely need to split them in the spring.

I finally got my new plants from two weekends ago into the ground. They seemed none the worse for waiting, luckily. I think keeping them right next to the water hose in the shade worked out fine. I put the purple delphinium next to my blue ones and the purple coneflowers went next to the small clump of them that I already have.

P8020045.jpgOver in the potato patch, Frank found that several plants had croaked. There were six that were definitely dead, and he says there are probably about a dozen more on the verge. We’re not quite sure why — he said the soil under the mulch was very dry in some places and completely soggy in others, which is strange. We had done this bed with lasagna composting to smother the weeds, and I guess we have to say that it’s not a complete success at this point. There are some plants in the same patch which are are huge, healthy and happy. It’s all very strange. We got a small harvest of red, white and blue potatoes that I’ll cook up for dinner tomorrow, I guess.

P8020014.jpgMy cute little hydrangea plant has one lonely blossom on it. It’s mostly white, with hints of blue in it. I think that means that the soil contains enough aluminum and is acid (low pH) I fertilized this spring with one low in phosphorus and high in potassium to try to get this blue, and it seems to have had some success. I keep reminding myself that the plant is only three years old, so I must be patient. But everyone around us has these huge plants that are probably a hundred years old, so my little dinky one keeps being a disappointment. Patience!

P8020009.jpgFrank found a bunch of little bulbils (black round things) around the tiger lilies, and collected them. We need to do some research and see what we can do to start them indoors or something. (They’ve provided us with plenty of volunteers over the years.) He loves those lilies more than any other, which is saying something for him, heh.

P8020031.jpgWe’ve got two huge frogs in the pond right now that look like fake, plastic frogs. I found one of them on the plastic cover on the barley ball that we have floating around to help keep down the algae. No matter what we did, he kept so still, trying to convince us we really didn’t see him, I’m sure. But he looks like a classic frog, too perfect to be real. It was amazing how fast he could then move when Frank couldn’t resist the urge to try to catch him.

P8020022.jpgFrank took the weed-whacker with the blade attachment out and attacked the brush around the telephone pole that I’ve been complaining about for a while. It’s such a mess and looks horrible, and the bindweed originates from there. I weeded around the hollyhocks in that corner, and the bindweed was horrific.

Between all of the weeding that I did and the weed-whacking that Frank did, we filled up the trailer twice with brush, which did a number on the only empty compost bin that we have. So at this point, all six bins are full, and I guess we’re just going to have to make another set of three. Frank isn’t looking forward to having that much compost to turn as a chore, so we are looking into getting a scoop for the back of his tractor that can be used instead of a pitchfork.

In the bad news department, we found the dreaded lily beetle all over many of our new lilies. We had hoped that we were remote enough that it would take them years to find us, but it looks like they are all over southern New Hampshire at this point. Damn. We picked off a dozen or so adults, and the plants are showings signs of damage on all of the foliage. In particular, all of our beautiful stargazer lilies are being attacked. I so hope they survive. Their show last year was just gorgeous. They look like they will bloom any day now, but there are many, many holes in the leaves all through them.

It looks like the only control for them is toxic to bees, sadly.

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