In A Vase On Monday: Summer Garden

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Summer has settled over our garden.  We’ve had several sunny days where temperatures reached the upper 80’s.  A thunderstorm with heavy downpours roared through yesterday afternoon, and more rough weather remains in our afternoon forecast.


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If you’ve not experienced a Virginia summer, you may not understand my point, here.  Those who garden even further south, along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, have had the heat, humidity, insects and afternoon thunderstorms as too frequent visitors to their gardens for a while now.

While spring is savored, summer it to be endured… and survived. 


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Temperatures rise rapidly on sunny days.  This means any real efforts must be made in the garden in early morning or late evening.  One must avoid the unbroken sun, staying as much as possible in the shade.  Wide brimmed hats morph from fashion statement to survival gear.

The roses have no such flexibility.  Which means they begin to droop and wilt as the sun climbs.  Cutting must be accomplished in early morning, and the stems plunged into deep warm water in a shady place while they drink, before arranging them.


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Their fragrance permeates the garden, mixed now with the familiar warm weather fragrances of box, mint and Magnolia.… and freshly mown grass.  Some one or another of the neighbors is cutting grass most every day now, and the fragrance carries on the summer breeze.

Today’s vase reflects early summer in our garden. 


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Cuttings of our native Mountain Laurel, which prefer partial shade, mix with today’s pick of roses.   Also in the vase the first of the white Sage; a stem of Spanish Lavender with its distinctive “rabbit’s ears” flowers; cuttings of perennial Geranium.


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Nearly all of our roses have come into bloom now. 

The Lantana has awakened from its winter rest and is pushing out its new stems for the year.  Most of the figs are showing new growth, finally, and there are flower buds on many of the Hydrangeas.  As the Cannas grow taller our garden will recover its rich tropical, summer wildness.

But the roses, covered in thousands of buds, still rule the garden landscape.  The first of the Peonies bloomed on Friday, but the heat and rain took their toll before they even fully opened.  And so our vase is filled with roses today.


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You may recognize this little antique silver sugar dish from earlier in the spring.  It is a family piece from my mother’s mother.  A little turtle carved from solid moonstone, which came home with me from Oregon last month, sits with the roses alongside a piece of polished rutillated quartz.  All rest on the fabulous board crafted by Michael Laico.


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Please take a moment to visit Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, who sponsors this Vase meme each week.  You’ll find links in her comments,  left by many other flower gardeners, to their floral creations today.  Cathy is gardening in the West Midlands of Great Britain, and her lovely tulips, and other spring flowers today, reflect that cooler climate.

I hope your garden is filled with spring or early summer flowers today, and that you’ll maybe cut a few stems to enjoy inside.


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I’ve finally realized it is the flowers cut and brought in which are enjoyed the most.  Especially now that we have sequestered ourselves indoors away from the mid-day heat.  Flowers may bloom and burst in the garden without us ever giving them much notice.  But indoors, where we enjoy them at close range, we take time to appreciate their lovely colors and form…. in comfort.


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Woodland Gnome 2015


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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

27 responses to “In A Vase On Monday: Summer Garden

  1. What part of Virginia are you from. I am on the left-hand side of the state, in Abingdon, Virginia. We have sweltered for two or three weeks with near 90s temps. The better result of that is everything is growing really well. I noticed my first sunflower bloom last evening.

    • Abingdon is beautiful! I love the mountains but don’t get out your way nearly often enough. It is usually a relief from our coastal heat. We are between two rivers, in Williamsburg. Thanks for visiting Forest Garden, Joe. Cheers! WG

  2. I can’t believe the size of your rosebush! Wow. Your arrangement must smell divine.
    So the summer weather begins eh? Makes me happy to still be many weeks behind you. I think the humidity would do me in. We’ve been having warm temps. but quite dry and too little rain. We did get showers today, but not much. Of course the plants (and tree frogs) are happy even with that little bit. It’s been nice to be outside on and off all day, getting things done. I miss blogging, but I guess it’s the garden that needs my attention right now. 😉

    • I’ve been thinking of you all day, Eliza, and missing you. It has been a busy stretch for me here, and I’ve not clicked in to visit you… but will catch up. I’m thrilled that you are finally able to work in your garden, and enjoy it! That is wonderful and I’m happy your weather is good. You must have accumulated lots of groundwater as the snow melted this spring. We’ve not seen frogs or toads as we normally do, and we are wondering about them. So glad your tree frogs are happy and abundant 😉 The house smells wonderful from the roses. A good friend took a lunch sack full of wilting rose petals with her today to make something wonderful with Aloe for us. Can’t wait to see it 😉 Best wishes, Eliza ❤ WG

      • I feel like the kid sister bringing up the rear – lol! Now that you are staying inside more, I’m heading out as you were a month ago and feel like I’ve no time to do my usual time in my Reader. Oh well! 😉

        • Everything balances, originally, doesn’t it? I’ve pulled some “all day in the garden” shifts lately, too; but not when it is this hot. S had to come drag me in early Sunday afternoon as the temps rose. Hard to not be out in the thick of it all! Love the image of you as the kid sister, Eliza… but think of you more as a twin ❤ Hope you enjoy every minute now that you are finally free to work out of doors 😉

  3. Your roses are absolutely beautiful! I love the colour and also that little hardy geranium that is tilting it’s head – it’s colour reflects the blue plate perfectly. So interesting to read of the problems you encounter with the weather/temperatures where you garden. Here it is what seems to be the unremitting rain and the damaging winds that cause the most damage. Our roses are just coming in to bud now and I have my fingers crossed that it will brighten up long enough to give them a chance. While the weather conditions are so hostile I can do no more than agree with you that ‘it is the flowers cut and brought in which are enjoyed the most’.

  4. Thanks for explaining your weather on east coast USA, Elizabeth – it helps give us a better understanding of how you garden and I was interested to read your advice to Silver in the Barn. Your roses do look stunning and what a wonderful large bush you have of them – mine are only just starting to flower. The meme now takes on another dimension with your discovery that ‘it is the flowers cut and brought in which are enjoyed the most…’ in the summer. Thanks for sharing all these thoughts with us as well as your vase.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Cathy. David Austin roses, for all of their incredible beauty, can be hard to get established in our climate. I’ve lost at least 4 in their first year, and another gorgeous little shrub quite suddenly in its fourth summer. They are very disease resistant, but do not like our intense heat and humidity until they have very solid root systems to sustain them. Barbara is working with a new shrub in its first year, and I have seen the very symptoms she is describing in my own garden. I hope you will have your roses to enjoy soon, Cathy, and that you will have a good, long run of them 😉 I like the international flavor of your meme as we see what is happening in one another’s gardens in so many different microclimates. It fascinates me to see who has what, when… if you get my meaning. You still have tulips, while there are none here anymore. Our spring flowers come and go more quickly, I think, because of the rapid heating. Oh, to be an English (or Scots, or Welsh or Irish) gardener working in your beautiful climate ….. ❤

  5. Beautiful roses and beautifully arranged. I’m glad someone else feels the same about summer as I do. “to be endured”, Christina

    • Thank you, Christina, I”m glad you enjoyed the roses. I hope you get to enjoy your summer a bit, too, and have some breaks in the heat. Rain here overnight, so I am glad to wake up to an overcast sky 😉 Best wishes, WG

  6. I agree – the heat came far too early this year too. Bracing for summer… Enjoy your roses – they are fabulous!

    • Thank you, Anna, and thank you for visiting. It is hard to enjoy the flowers when the heat affects them so badly. I hope when it cools down a little later in the week more peonies will bloom, and actually get to open and be their beautiful peony selves for a few days! Bracing for summer here, too. Best wishes, WG

  7. I was crushed this evening to go out and find all the little pink roses on my St. Swithuns looking rather….awful. I’ll check in the morning and see if they’ve revived a bit. They were in full sun when I checked. Your roses are just to die for, WG.

    • Come visit and we’ll cut you a bunch 😉 I am thoroughly enjoying them this year. This is the first really huge harvest of roses in this garden- more in line with what the roses in my Va B garden used to produce. I’d come out in the early morning and cut loads of roses in May, take them to work, and give little vases of roses to my colleagues. What fun 😉 Make sure you keep your new rose shrub well watered in this heat. Do you have a large umbrella you can set up to shade it a bit until it is established, Barbara? it is way too hot for the plants just waking up and coming into growth for spring… Too hot too early for too long. Also, do you have your new rose mulched? About 3″ of good hardwood mulch or 2″ of compost over paper will help (water deeply, first). Hope these ideas help….

      • I went out last night and watered the heck out of it. It is mulched but I shall give it some more. It looks so much better this morning but now I am worried it is in too hot of a spot for its delicate English sensibilities. Most of my roses thrive in the western sun. Argh! anyway, we’ll see how it goes and thanks for your help.

        • Happy to hear little St. Swithun looks better this morning, Barbara. It just got hot so fast this year! Getting the English shrub roses through their first year or two can be a challenge, Barbara. Did you buy yours potted? The potted ones are maybe a little easier than the bare root. And mine get a little shade at times through the day. Once established, it will be fine. A lot more water transpires through the flowers than through the leaves….. you might just cut some of those lovely little flowers as the buds open to help the plant until it has firm roots. We got heavy rain overnight, and I hope you got a little rain for your garden, too. Enjoy the day! WG<3

          • We got no rain. I didn’t know that about the water transpiring through the buds. A wealth of knowledge you are, gardening sister. OK, so I’ll cut some of those little buds to help the plant though. I did buy it potted. It gets shade in the morning but not in the afternoon which is probably exactly the wrong way around. I’ll be vigilant about keeping it well-hydrated at least until we leave in two weeks for Asia. Egad.

  8. Lovely roses! I am still dreaming of mine opening…. 😉 I am sure it is nice to bring that perfume indoors too.

  9. farseems

    What a feast for the eyes this post was! Sadly my peonies, have not sprung a single bud, let alone a flower. Many leaves though. I wonder why. My fig tree seems to have died, no leaves sprouting there, but the chives are a riot of flowers. Shall and you picture as is my red rose bush up on the deck. No fragrance though! Every day something new somewhere does emerge.

    • Thank you, my friend. Your roses are lovely, even if not fragrant. Don’t give up on your figs too soon… they are very slow this year for some reason. Leaves may yet come. Yes, something new every day 🙂

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