Have you ever noticed that many quilters love to garden. Or is it that gardeners love to quilt?
Come take a little walk in my urban garden. Here in Minnesota, we got off to a very late start on our gardens. Snow and cold lingered seemingly forever, and when it finally warmed up in June we had enough rain to flood out cornfields repeatedly. Once we passed through a soggy month, we reverted to the no-rain scenario of the last few years, leaving much of the state still in severe drought. Add the horrid heat wave, and people are just as wilted as gardens. But in my little yard, I watered the veggies and the flowers, and the baby trees on the boulevard. The grass is truly brown and weed-ridden, and I don’t care. There is not a lot of it anyway.
The late start meant we were gathering sugar snap peas right up into August, and everything else was late too. Now we are hoping for a pleasant fall, so we can get all those stunning heirloom tomatoes to ripen on the vine!
In our neighborhood there are sunken rain gardens scattered on the boulevards. The city put them in as an experiment to help cut down on water flow into the storm sewer system. Now they are bright islands of black-eyed-susans and other plants, very cheerful. When you enter my garden through the side yard, you are usually greeted by a little woodland garden, but the neighbor’s spring construction and the late start really stunted it this year. Hopefully it will bounce back after a winter’s rest. I do think I lost my lovely miniature cattails from the downspout area though, and know that the jack-in-the-pulpit are gone. That means next year I can re-envision that area!
As you enter my back yard, you pass under the tree-formed lilacs that are so aromatic in spring, and by the little apple tree. The squirrels get the apples, we never do! The patio has many containers of coleus varieties and annuals. The containers drift around the yard, helping to create little rooms everywhere. Smack dab in the middle of my little yard is a lovely paper birch clump. It’s shade is always somewhere, so you can sit in the yard any time of day without baking. The rock garden under it tried hard to recover from the wet start, and finally flowered. The spring tulips there are a Breast Cancer Awareness variety and really lovely.
Behind the patio, before the second patio, is the butterfly garden, full of phlox and bee balm, yarrow and spring peonies, zinnias and snapdragons. It is often full of butterflies and bees as well, and hummingbird moths that are great fun to watch. Morning Glories climb the fence, their blooms have finally started to brighten up the day.
I am delighted to have one of my grown sons living with me, and he has taken over most of the raised vegetable beds, and is experimenting. He grew Minnesota Midget Melons and heirloom tomatoes this year, and bush beans as well as sugar snaps. He tried broccoli but it sogged out from all the rain. The melons grew so well that they wandered over to the back patio and covered half of it! It’s a jungle out there, but a sweet one. Oh, he also grows a full mini-orchard of citrus trees in containers. Those fresh Meyer Lemons are simply amazing during a Minnesota winter. The citrus trees have to winter inside, so the grow-lights keep part of our house very bright. This gardening son is also a photographer, and several of these photos are his. (His blog is full of tasty recipes too!)
In the evening we are hosts to three kinds of hummingbirds, and more hummingbird moths. Right before it gets dark, it is not unusual to have 5-6 little hummingbirds competing for the choicest blooms. They dive at each other and make quite a ruckus!
While we have a harvest moon this weekend, and lovely weather still, the first nippy nights are close on our heels. Like magic, my gardening mindset is shifting over to cleanup and taking down things, preparing for the winter. The birch tree will be golden, the Amur maple out front will be fiery red. That is part of the charm of living where we get four distinct seasons, each lovely in its own way. I admit to loving them all, but wishing that the winters were a tad bit shorter! Dream on . . .
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