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Summer’s Sweet Spot: GBBD, July 2017

July 15, 2017

summer sweet spotYesterday, a friend came to visit. We toured the garden and he took some photographs. As we were sitting on my screened porch, looking out over the new front garden and eating lunch, he said, “This is a really sweet spot you’ve got here.”

I love my rural house nestled in the woods in all seasons, but the experience of living here is sweetest in summer. And that is especially true in July, when the garden reaches its peak. In many ways, mid-July is the sweet spot in the garden season. In mid-July, there is so much going on in the garden that almost every garden area looks good (even the temporary holding area for plants, shown below). But there is so much more yet to come! In mid-July, I can drink in the current beauty while also enjoying the delicious taste of anticipation.

holding area color 2017

The entrance to the back garden features a lush display of goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus), astilbe, and spirea flowers spilling over the retaining wall. goatsbeard & spirea

In the Circular Bed at the turn into my driveway, the pastel hues of June are giving way to the strong contrasts of July. The gold color of these daylilies contrast with the blue-violet flowers of Geranium x ‘Johnson’s Blue’ (below left). This color scheme is repeated on the other side of the circle in the blooms of daylily ‘Margaret Seawright’ and geranium ‘Brookside’ (below right).

Barth gold with Johnson's Blue Circular bed vignette
Porch Border July 2017 I continue to be amazed by how mature the Porch Border planting looks in it’s second year. In July, the front-of-the-border planting of Heuchera ‘Raspberry Regal,’ Geranium x oxonianum, and Tradescantia virginiana ‘Pink Chablis’ that continue to flower all summer long are being joined by the tall spires of Astilbe x ‘Moerheim’s Glory’ and the first daylily blooms.
The Lavender Walk is also a source of delight in mid-July. lavender walk July 2017
Side Slope from top 2017 And it’s hard to believe that the Side Slope is only in its first year when I look down from the deck on the lush display of flowers spilling down the hillside.
The planting for the Fragrant Garden was completed only a few weeks ago, and it does look raw and new. Even here, though, there are beautiful flowers to enjoy, including sweet peas growing up the side of the deck, the first phlox flowers of the season, a few flowers on rose ‘Therese Bugnet,’ and several varieties of daylilies. sweet peas
First phlox 2017 Therese Bugnet bloom

My favorite part of the July garden is the beginning of daylily season. At this point in mid-July, about 20 percent of the varieties I grow have begun to bloom and two or three more are opening their first flowers each day. I leave you with this montage of some of my favorite early season daylilies.

Early Daylilies 2017

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is graciously hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what garden bloggers from many climates have happening in their July gardens.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2017 12:56 am

    You’re new and new-ish garden beds all look terrific, Jean. All your plants look happy. I can understand why you love July in Maine. (It’s not nearly as pleasant here, where regular heatwaves put the gardener on edge as the garden operates in survival mode.) I wish I had half your success with daylilies. Happy GBBD!

    • July 19, 2017 9:19 pm

      Kris, I can’t imagine anyplace I’d rather be in summer than Maine. High temperatures in the upper eighties or low nineties in July are news-worthy here, and our overnight temperatures seldom stay above 70. I think my daylilies are more tolerant of heat than I am, but they don’t like to get their feet wet, so my ultra-well-drained glacial sand suits them.

  2. July 16, 2017 6:02 am

    Wow! You have something of every color!
    Love the Lavender walk
    Have a wonderful day!

    • July 19, 2017 9:20 pm

      Lea, I’m thrilled with the Lavender Walk, which I planted in memory of my mother who always wanted to have lavender in her garden. (Unfortunately, she didn’t have the right conditions to grow it successfully.)

  3. July 16, 2017 10:21 am

    Hi Jean, i have always been fascinated with lavender, but they are not growing here in our hot tropics. I found them very beautiful in hedges in Sweden and New Zealand, i took lots of pictures. Because i can’t have the plants, i use the oil at least during massage. hehe.

    • July 19, 2017 9:22 pm

      Andrea, the idea of lavender hedges makes me swoon! Mine will never get that big because they die back during the winter here. My mother, like you, substituted lavender oils, soaps and shampoo for being able to grow the plants.

  4. July 16, 2017 1:31 pm

    I can’t believe how quickly things have grown in, it’s a real testament to good plant choices and excellent soil prep!
    I bet you are getting a lot of use out of that seating area 🙂

    • July 19, 2017 9:25 pm

      Bittster, I have quite a few seating areas. I more often used the screened-in seating areas (screened porch on the front of the house and screened gazebo on the back deck) during the summer months when my very healthy populations of blackflies and mosquitoes can make sitting out unprotected unpleasant. The patio seating area tends to get used more in the fall.

  5. July 16, 2017 7:35 pm

    I really like the lavender walk right by the chairs. It must smell wonderful.
    Happy Bloom Day!
    Jeannie @

    • July 19, 2017 9:34 pm

      Jeannie, The scent of the lavender is delicious. I have continued it along the front of the fragrant garden outside my bedroom, so I get that lovely lavender fragrance wafting in on summer nights.

  6. July 16, 2017 9:12 pm

    Everything looks just lovely. I’m a little jealous of your lavender walk! Lavender just barely manages to survive up here.

    • July 19, 2017 9:42 pm

      Joanna, Where are you gardening? (I couldn’t figure it out from your blog.) I’m on the zone 4/5 border, and lavender is marginal here. I am growing the two varieties (Munstead and Hidcote) that other gardeners told me are reliably winter-hardy here.

      • Joanna permalink
        July 21, 2017 9:13 pm

        I garden in Caribou, zone 4a. My only lavender plant has survived -33, but it doesn’t thrive. I think it is Munstead.

  7. debsgarden permalink
    July 17, 2017 12:01 am

    Sweet, indeed! All of your planning and hard work has certainly paid off. You deserve the pleasure of sitting on your porch and enjoying your garden’s beauty. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • July 19, 2017 9:43 pm

      Thanks, Deb. One of the lovely things about retirement is that I can indulge in the pleasure of sitting on the porch and enjoying the garden several hours each day!

  8. July 17, 2017 7:17 am

    Everything is thriving Jean! All your planning and work is paying off quickly. This time of year is so magical in Maine.

    • July 19, 2017 9:44 pm

      Brenda, I am amazed at how quickly these flower beds have matured, making this summer even more magical than expected.

  9. July 17, 2017 8:54 pm

    It really is a sweet spot, Jean! Lovely gardens, a reward for all your labors. 🙂

    • July 19, 2017 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Eliza. Although I sometimes like to grouse about the limitations of gardening on glacial sand, the truth is that I love living and gardening here. ❤

  10. July 20, 2017 1:31 pm

    What an amazing accomplishment your garden!! It is a beautiful combination of areas, colors and great design. You must have great joy enjoying it!

    • July 25, 2017 9:08 pm

      Lula, It does give me great joy. I have never thought of myself as artistically creative, and I sometimes look around in amazement and think, “I created all of this!”

  11. July 22, 2017 2:16 pm

    Jean, This is the time of year when I envy your garden! While my SC garden is spent for the most part and suffering in the heat, your garden is beautiful, colorful and lush. And the lavender walk turned out so well. You must be pleased with how all your planning and work paid off. I can smell the scent of lavender from here. Again, I envy you…lavender is hard to grow in my climate. Enjoy and thank you for sharing all your amazing photos!

    • July 25, 2017 9:10 pm

      Kathy, I envy gardeners further south in March and April when I am not-so-patiently waiting for winter to end and the snow to melt and for plants to emerge from the ground. The payoff comes in July and August when our cool temperatures keep the garden looking fresh.

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