I decided that this group of garden pix that I had planned to post for Helen’s End Of Month View at The Patient Gardener did not quite fit with the wide angle images that Mark took. So I am presenting them separately, giving you a few close-ups of plantings.
Our Buddha, surrounded by containers of mostly perernnials and ferns, sits at the edge of the deck and is a constant presence. This year I bought a couple of fancy-leaved Begonias for the pots but otherwise just dug plants out of the garden and plopped them in pots. Behind Buddha — hidden by greenery — is our pond. The stream and upper pool that feed it are off to the right of this image but also are not visible in this shot.
The upper pool and stream are in the forground here. Stepping stones lead to the Sacred Grove on the right and the shrub border along the lot line marked by the fence in the center back. This shot includes a Bloodgood Japanese Maple (from the left), Weeping Purple Beech and Striped-bark Maple. (Click on any photo to enlarge it for more detail). A semi-circle of yew balls surrounds the Beech.
Arrowhead (Sagitaria latifolia) is a native water plant with dramatic foliage. It almost takes over this little pool by the end of August. It has prominent white flower stalks later in the summer.
In a boggy area along the stream is Hart's Tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), Branford Beauty painted fern (Athyrium BB) and a clump of Royal fern (Osmunda regalis).
Toward the bottom of the stream: a weeping Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Ashfield Weeper'), Russian Cypress (Microbiata decusata) and more Branford Beauty painted fern.
Ajuga (probably A. reptans 'Burgundy Glow') and moss at the foot of the stream.
So far this season, I've only seen white water lilies (Nymphaea varieties) on the pond. Not sure why the yellow ones are late.
Here I am inspecting things along the fence at the edge of our property. We decided not plant flowers here but to concentrate on shrubs for eventual lower maintenance. You can see a new Japanese quince (Chaenomeles 'O Yakashima') is still caged to protect it from the rabbits who are wicked this year.
The multi-stem tree in the backround is a sixty-year-old lilac. It still flowers at the top of the branches. We can see them from the hosue and smell them when we walk by. We love the look of those skinny trunks so we have no plans to cut it down or let new branches grow up.
I'm writing this at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night with thunder in the background and the sound of the TV broadcaster monitoring the weather in our area. Strong thunder storm or tornado? Not sure which one is coming our way.
Earlier this evening Mark took a number of shots of our garden using a wide angle lens. That way you get a real sense of what it looks like in its entirety, not something that is possible to see when we concentrate on plant portraits.
These first three photos were taken standing on our deck at the back of the house, facing our pond. The views are looking west to east. The big tree behind the Buddha statue is a Honey Locust. (Click on any photo to enlarge it).
The picture below is the view when standing in front of the big Locust tree (see picture above) and looking west.
Now we're walking east around the edge of the pond, standing at the beginning of the short hedge in the photo above.
Standing above the hedge with the swath of variegated sedge below it and looking back toward the hosue and deck and the big Honey Locust tree.
We've left the hedge behind us and the fence marks the eastern boundary of the garden. We're on our way to the garden in the southwestern corner of the property known as the Sacred Grove.
In the 20 years we've lived here we've lost the big trees that gave this area its name. It is the primary perennial patch in the entire garden.
A closer view of the scene above. This is now more sun than shade after losing three trees in the winter of 2012/13.
Looking back to the east at the plantings across the path with an old Austrian pine right where the path curves.
Around that curve is the upper pond and side view of the Tea House.
The view back across the garden from the top of the steps in front of the Tea House. Note the bamboo fence and big deck pot that were visible in pictures 1-3.
If you come around behind the Tea House this is the view of one of the last areas we are in the process of designing and planting. Go left and you are back on the deck.
The Patient Gardener posts what her garden looks like at the end of each month so she can follow its changes during the course of the gardening year. My garden features greens for most of the year except for early and late season bursts of color. I am not sure how much these views would change month to month if we diligently photographed the same scenes.
Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen: Witty and wily tale of the experiences of the post-college-age daughter of Vietnamese immigrants living in the Midwest. A wicked look inside “Asian” restaurants, sibling rivalries, college lit degrees and what it’s like to be born in the U.S. but not look “American.” All of it filtered through the lens of the Little House on the Prairie books and the lives — literary and hidden — of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. A brilliant concept and beautiful writing.
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead: This caught my eye at B&N on my way to buy my favorite UK magazine. I have owned a copy of Middlemarch since 1994. I continually think "I should read that," when I'm not wondering if I should donate it to the library sale. I loved the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of the book and have watched it many times over the years. But the book has always seemed forbidding until now. Author Rebecca Mead has been reading Middlemarch since she was a teenager and talks about what she saw in the book at differing ages up to middle age. Her book is the equivalent of a semester devoted to the Middlemarch with discussions of characters, motivations, other books and authors at the time Eliot was writing as well as how her life influenced the book. Mead also provides an excellent biography of Eliot, with updates and asides on the many bios and critiques of Eliot that have appeared over the years. A totally satisfying and enjoyable read and perhaps what I've needed to spur me to read Middlemarch itself.
Wake by Anna Hope: Excellent novel of WWI with three interconnecting stories whose characters move in and out of each other’s lives. And a fourth recurring segment describing the search for and burial of the unknown soldier at the 11/11/1920 Cenotaph dedication. The author is a surprisingly young woman who understands — and can movingly describe — a broad group of characters, ages and social strata. Finally a current novel that lived up the reviews.
Molly Fox's Birthday by Deidre Madden: Two of my favorite book bloggers liked this one so I decided to give it a try, and am glad I did. Here'a a link to Book Snob's take on it.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn: When I commented on one of my favorite books, An Uncommon Reader, displayed on the counter at Arcadia Books in Spring Green, they suggested I might like Mrs. Queen. It's as funny and charming in its way as "Reader" but with a wider story and cast of characters. Kuhn has written a number of non-fiction works about the monarchy and knows how to deftly speculate about life behind the scenes as well as poke gentle fun at the woman who is queen of all she surveys but hasn't a clue about real life and real people. What happens when she wanders off the Palace grounds wearing a hoodie and carrying her trademark handbag is the perfect summer read.
And I'm giving up on Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination, The Pope and Mussolini, and Not I by Joachim Fest. These are winter books and the garden is calling.
The yin and yang of barns are juxtaposed on this property in northern Door County, Wisconsin. Cost of materials and construction — to say nothing of skill and knowledge — mean that pole barns like the red one tend to be the rule of the day in most farming communities. But American life and culture are the poorer for the lack of new structures built to allow for the beauty that comes with vernacular architecture and with age. Click on the picture to see the cluster of outbuildings around the old barn.
I planted "star fruit" (Penthorum seloides) at the edge of our pond in 2000. By the summer of 2011, it had grown out of all proportion for its space. When it didn't show up last summer I was mad at myself for being too enthusiastic in ripping it out in big handfuls the year before.
Lo and behold, one stem appeared this spring and I've been waiting all summer for this moment when it finally bloomed! Star fruit is described as "having bouquets of upside down turkey's feet embossed with small rows of starry flowers." They'll turn into pinkish fruits later in the season.
It's great for wet spots as it will grow in up to 4 inches of standing water. Its strong profile makes it nice for winter interest as well.
How about your garden this summer: any sudden deaths or reappearances?
I love Donna Hay's eponymous cooking magazine. It's an Australian publication which means I tend to discover it more by accident than intention. Local bookstores just don't seem to have it on a regular basis, or maybe the copies sell out quickly.
The other quirky thing about Donna Hay is that she's usually publishing recipes for the opposite season, being in the Southern Hemisphere. But issue 67, which I found earlier this summer, is a winner — primarily for its variations on potato salad. Turns out the magazine has sold out and I can't find the recipes on-line, so I will share one of the recipes I tried: Salmon, horseradish and potato salad.
Essentially, boil new potatoes for 18-20 minutes, drain and set aside until cool. Then slice thinly. While the potatoes are cooking, thinly slice two large cucumbers. Quickly pickle them in a bowl with 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Allow them to marinate at least ten minutes.
Make a dressing with 1/2 cup creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons each of white vinegar and horseradish, sea salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, grill 4 salmon fillets of about 7 ounces each. Top the sliced potatoes with flaked salmon, drained cukes, chopped chervil and drizzle with the dressing. An easy, elegant and delicious dinner for four.
What I really liked about these recipes was the flavor combinations.
One salad wrapped wedges of cooked potatoes with proscuitto, then tossed them with frisee lettuce and cooked asparagus spears. Dress it with lemon juice to which you've added garlic and chopped anchovies to taste.
Potatoes, peas, green onions, mint with a dressing of yogurt, lime juice and Indian lime pickle.
Another great combination I tried mixed potatoes, radish halves, sliced baby beets and red lettuce. Dressing is mayo mixed with fresh tarragon, garlic, capers, and a bit of vinegar and oil.
Boil new potatoes in water to which you've added finely sliced ginger root, garlic cloves to taste, salt and 1 cup of rice vinegar. Boil for ten minutes, then add turnips and cook another ten minutes. Drain, slice potatoes and turnip and mix with sugar snap peas and edamame beans that have been blanched. Dressing is 1/2 cup mayo mixed with 1T. each of wasabi paste and rice wine vinegar.
I realize these are not full recipes but I think you can get the idea and improvise using amounts of ingredients and spices that appeal to your personal taste. And maybe when Donna Hay Magazine gets their recipe index functioning you can find more details and ideas online.
Mark and I have just returned from a week at "art camp" in Door County. Five days of drawing, painting and collaging inspiration. We feel just like this Buddha we snapped in Ellison Bay: at peace with the world and smiling a secret summer smile.
To get colors this intense in the August garden, annuals usually provide the strongest jolt. These summer brights were all found at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. Their gardens are looking gorgeous despite the drought.