Monday, August 11, 2014

As Summer Winds Down

As I sat in the morning sun by the water garden watching the gold fish chase each other, I distractingly noticed that the air felt much like September instead of this pleasant August day. We have had a much cooler than normal summer and it has felt so good. None the less, I am done gardening. We still have some weeding to do to get ready for fall and some deadheading and pruning, but I'll not buy another plant, I promise myself.

Were I not in my post-retirement life, I would  be getting ready to head back to the University writing syllabi and updating my website. I miss that and then I am quite thankful that I don't have do it anymore. Instead I can linger in the warm summer sun, let my mind drift, give thanks for a sweet life.

We had worked so hard getting ready for picnics and company all summer, so with all the entertaining behind us, we goofed off yesterday in Ft. Collins. Coffee at a quaint little coffee shop, a stroll through  a little antique store, a stop at a kitchen store to order replacement parts for my food processor, and lovely walk through CSU's test garden. Wander along with us as we oohed and awed at the beautiful plants.

(Judge Dr. Klett was our daughter's college professor at CSU in horticulture.)


Love more. Comes in 3 colors: pink, white, and yellow.

New varieties coming to your local nursery someday. Maybe. A sign noted that plants received available rain and 1.5 inches of irrigation each week. We have had a rainy summer. The garden has quite an elaborate drip system

Pink Baby's Breath. Love

The grand house on the far side of the garden is a university Frat House. Look at those reds and pinks.

Past their bloom, dwarf sunflowers. Maybe they were pretty. While I love sunflowers, these didn't do much for us.

Ivory zinna. Like

I finally convinced the Head Gardener that we should plant the tall marigolds in the garden, too. He like these.

A traditional rock garden. Like

Snow White would be perfect in the fairy garden as a ground cover. I am continually looking for interesting ground cover.

There are so many new echinacea. I am not so sure that I like this one. Of course, the bloom was not at its peak.

These hardy hibiscus are gorgeous. And I can grow them. They are spectacular when they reach full growth and bloom. Here they are late summer bloomers. This one is. . . 

Cherry Cheese Cake. 

It is always a treat to visit the test garden where the university tests plants from various growers and nurseries. 

Here at home: Holly Hocks Gone Wild

Who doesn't love the holly hock? 

I especially like this pink.

Bees swarm to them.

But enough is enough

 And they all came down

But there are more. We will never be rid of them. Do see them in the far corner of the garden?
What started as just a couple of holly hocks south of the house grew to a forest of them this year. Theu pop up everywhere. Close to gaining weed status, we wanted to get them chopped down before they went to seed. 

Finally the garden around the pond has its final shape with new sod planted last week. The Head Gardener laid a lot sod in all the bare spots in the yard. I will have a blank canvas for next spring. My promise not buy more plants. Ha! I have to indulge myself with a spring bulb shopping spree in another month or so. If I find some bargain grasses, I might have to get some started this fall. 

My first sunflower shot of the summer.

Because I didn't get sunflower seeds planted. This one came up all on her own next to the pond.

Love the strawberries in hanging pots on the patio. They don't complain nearly as much as flowers. A do again for next summer.

And just for you, a bouquet of super market sunflowers, wild sunflowers, and a black eyed Susan. 

Glad you took time to visit. And thanks for your lovely comments.


  1. Beautiful post Ann! Love all the pics of the flowers. I was right there walking along with you. Looking in at the center of the sunflower, at the end of the post, reminded me of using a compass to make polygons when I was younger. People probably don't use those any longer.

  2. Love the pink baby's breath and the glorious holly hocks! Thank you for the end of summer bouquet!

  3. What a pretty bouquet you are sharing with us. I thought I would buy some flowers for the condo while we are here but I keep forgetting when I am at the store! Love the ID cards on the flowers to learn more of the names. I have our ID book out now to look some up....I forget from year to year! Beautiful photos my friend! Sweet hugs, Diane

  4. I receive emails about the AAS trials and new plants all the time as a garden writer but I've never seen the beds. The Proven Winners plants I trial come from the US and it is exciting to grow plants that will be for sale to the public the following year.
    I've given up on hollyhocks - the bugs eat them but they are pretty. I like the sunflower bouquet, a reminder that autumn is on the way even though it feels like it now.

  5. What fun it would be to visit a trial garden like that! I agree with you on all counts, as far as your likes and dislikes go. I am doing some trialing myself this summer, for Proven Winners, and I'm growing that Cherry Cheesecake. It's a stunner, make sure to get it for yourself.

  6. Very interesting to see the trial grounds and to get an idea of what and how plants would perform in your garden. They certainly make a colourful splash. Oh how cruel cutting those hollyhocks down when they look so gorgeous - mine aren't standing as straight as yours were they are bending in all directions after the strong winds we have been having. Love your sunflower bouquet - they are such a cheery plant. Your pond has settled down nicely - looking good.

  7. It is always interesting to visit the trial gardens, we have them here too not far from our place, but your hollyhocks are looking wonderful, such a shame to cut them down, but I understand you have too many of them. Your sunflower next to the pond is a beauty too, much more beautiful than the short stemmed sunflowers in the test garden. So cheerful to have them as a bouquet inside.

  8. Thank you for that pretty bunch of flowers Ann and for the lovely photo's of the gardens! I know what you mean about it feeling like September. It's the same in Holland. I notice a change in the garden as well. Some of the plants are already falling asleep. The heat and lack of rain of the past months did not do the garden well either.

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

    Madelief x

  9. A lovely post....I wish I could grow hollyhocks! They just won't grow in my garden, I think the slugs like them too much. Xxx

  10. How on earth did you manage not to walk out of there with more then a few stowed in your purse, under your bag, or just dragged behind you. They are gorgeous....sigh. Test gardens...what a wonderful idea.


  11. Our summer has been cool, too. but I have loads of gardening plans! The Word document I keep on my desktop computer keeps getting longer and longer with all the changes I want to make. I'm starting on a few of them tomorrow. I'm excited! Your hollyhocks are such a beautiful weed! They're one of the first plants I ever grew successfully from seed. :o)

  12. Goodbyes to hollyhock. It's truly a weed. And dr klett well he is my walking encyclopedia. You know that one of favs will be in Portland? Not a professor but the author of the dirr's manual? The all our Manual on trees and shrubs. I told paul I have to have his autograph. I am such a nerd. But in a good way:). Live the photos and shout to my alma mater.

  13. Btw. Today did not feel like September. Too darn hot'

  14. Beautiful post, Ann. I can't imagine that visiting a garden didn't make you want to purchase just one or two more plants? The hollyhocks are so beautiful. I let mine go to seed and cut them down in the spring for I've read that ladybugs like to overwinter in the stalks.

  15. Some lovely plants. I love seeing hollyhock and I've tried to grow them but wasn't' particularly successful. I meant to grow sunflower this year (well I did but they were eaten by slugs).


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