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The mornings while crisp, excite me each time I step out onto the front porch as the roses are in bloom, the sunflowers stretch ever higher to the sky and the hydrangeas are just beginning to turn their brilliant autumnal blush hue.
The smoke-filled skies have begun to clear which means more time outside soaking in the last days of summer, and there is much to do, thankfully, in the garden. In today’s post I’d like to share with you 15 jobs and tasks I will be up to as the month unfolds.
1.Harvesting the Peach Trees!
The wrapping of the peach trees this past April and May paid off, and this year, after having nothing to harvest in 2020, but knowing this tree could produce in abundance (2019’s harvest was awesome), this year’s harvest surpassed my expectations. The size of softballs, half of the main tree is now harvested, and I am waiting for the remaining peaches to be ready. All in all, three size 6 trugs-worth will be the full harvest, and that is not bad. I have shared with my neighbors and contractor already because I know I will not be able to keep up with them even with the ideas I have in mind. 🙂
2. Planting out more Rozanne Geraniums
I fell in LOVE with the Rozanne Geraniums I planted out amongst my Buttercup David Austin roses this year as the delicate, yet brilliant purple blooms share their beautiful from June until the first frost in the fall. I recommend them highly as they are quite hardy as well. I planted mine as bare roots in April and wasn’t sure how strong they would be in their first year, but they rose to the occasion and performed as though they were mature plants of many years.
Having had this experience, I purchased eight more plants to place on the westside of my house which is pretty bare after late spring once the flax is finished. I look forward to seeing how much the added color will change this side of the garden on the exterior side of my fenced yard.
3. Preordering Dahlia Tubers
As I shared in this month’s A Cuppa Moments, I am excited to begin to add dahlias to my boulevard (the garden area between the sidewalk and street). I have preordered a bundle of favorite varietals already from Dahlia Barn (located in Washington state) and Eden Brothers, and am taking tips from successful gardeners of dahlias (thank you already to Sarah and my mom ☺️)
4. Adding Two More Julia Child shrub roses and moving one already planted
I love my Julia Child butter-yellow rose. It was the first plant I put in the ground after signing the papers on Le Papillon. However, where I had originally placed this first rose shrub, in a south and east facing corner, contributed to a struggle through summer when the temperatures soared to the triple digits. My other roses, on the east side of the house as well as solely on the south, did wonderfully. After speaking with seasoned gardeners, they suggested it might be the heat from the house as it is situated in the corner that basically baked the rose. Thankfully, once the temperatures dropped, the rose returned and is offering beautiful blooms, but I’d like to help it out and have moved it to the east side of my house.
To add a hint of intentional symmetry (but not too much as I am trying to create an English Cottage Garden), I ordered two more Julia Child roses from Heirloom Roses in Portland, and they are now on the east side as well. I look forward to a touch more yellow on this side of the house producing color from June to September.
5. Assessing what worked, where and changes to be made next season
Gardening is a journey and a wonderful teacher of valuable life lessons. This is year two in my gardening journey at Le Papillon, and seeing how much has changed, improved and grown buoys the confidence that patience and being willing to try is worth it. However, just because we try, doesn’t mean it will work. After all, plants have preferred soils, amounts of sun or shade and water.
I have been observing which plants are doing well, considering other placements for plants I am going to try one more go of welcoming into the garden and new plants I’d like to include. All of this imagining, planning and learning is part of the journey that makes gardening throughly exhilarating, engaging and a favorite pastime of mine.
6. Bringing in Sunflowers for bouquets
I planted many more sunflowers seeds this past May, and I am so glad that I did. They have been blooming in succession (entirely by accident on my part), which means I am able to bring a handful into the house each week. From the ProCut White Lite (I call it limoncello) sunflower, to the Panache varietal from Floret Flowers, being able to bring in flowers from my own garden is priceless, and seeing a sunflower immediately brings a smile.
7. Soon the tomatoes will be harvested
I sowed many tomatoes from seed this year, and was amazed by how easy this approached turned out to be; however, I planted many of these lovely plants in the boulevards, and they weren’t as successful. Again, this is how we learn as mentioned above in #5. However, the tomatoes I grew next to the house on the south side and in large terracotta pots in the kitchen garden grew happily, so I look forward to harvesting them later this month.
8. Fixing and adding gates to frame the house and add a shade garden
One important detail of the garden is proper fencing, and after much patience, the builder will be stopping by later this week to measure and determine what I would like to add (two gates on the north side to create a shade garden and a private sitting area), and fixing a south side gate that the wind ravaged last year.
It is my hope that by adding gates on the north side, the house will be framed visually and provide a nice backdrop to the plants in the front of the house whilst providing some privacy.
9. Harvesting Walla Walla Sweet Onions
Along with planting shallots this past spring, I also planted Walla Walla Sweet Onions. The shallots were harvested last month (tune in to the first episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show for ideas for using an abundance of them throughout the winter months) and soon the onions will be, and I cannot wait to cook with them. Growing them was quite simple, and it may mean I grow even more next year to bulk up my épicerie for the winter months in coming years.
10. Planting out more Daffodil Bulbs and Muscari (grape hyacinths)
Last year, you may remember I potted up Tulip Triffle pots. Well, they didn’t turn out. I know I did something wrong, but I have decided to stick with daffodils, and bring on the daffodils I will. I already have quite a few in the ground around the lawn in the interior of the fencing, but now I want to add more to the exterior for the neighborhood to see as well in the front of my house. As I had planted tulips in this area initially, during the first spring, they popped up out of the ground well; the second year they did not (as Monty Don warned), so I am filling this area with yellow daffodils and dark purple muscari which will be a wonderful pop of color in March after our long winters.
11. Securing the wisteria around the garden porch
Last spring (2020), I planted a wisteria plant hardy enough for zone 6, Summer Cascade (zone 4 is stated as its coldest possible climate). Now, in its second year, it is growing wonderfully. Already it has scaled up to the top of the porch and over half of the east side of the porch frame. I cannot quite believe it, but it also means I need to secure it well so that it makes it through the winter in place.
12. Sowing herbs for indoor use in the winter
I have a couple of seed packets of my favorite herbs that I can’t find in plant form here in Bend – Chevril, Bush Basil – and I am going to try and sow them in medium size terracotta pots and keep them indoors for cooking during the winter. We’ll see how it goes.
13. Trimming my cherry trees
The cherry trees produced in abundance again this year, but now I need to trim them up a bit as I did last year. I had done so in August a year ago and am a bit late this year, but there is still time.
14. Pruning my blackberry bushes
One berry shrub I still have much to learn about are my blackberries. Determining which shoots are first year versus second year, when and what to trim back, I know I’ll figure it out, but it will just take time. Either way, even though I have not done it properly these past two years, the plant still produces gorgeous berries this time of year – opal gems just dripping off the vines.
15. Making desserts and jams with my berries and peaches
Speaking of the blackberries, this is the time of year when crumbles, tarts, crisps, jams, parfaits and many other ideas-I-have-yet-to-try-but-look-forward-to-exploring-(and tasting) will be enjoyed. Pairing them with the peaches, making a mixed berry dessert (I made a blackberry, peach and strawberry tart earlier this week, see below), playing in the kitchen becomes incredibly fun this time of year.
Savoring the last handful of weeks before the first frost becomes more treasured as I find myself being soothed more than I ever thought possible by the garden. For everyone who finds joy and peace amongst their gardens, wishing you a wonderful end of summer and first few moments of autumn.
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