Foliage Everywhere

July 20, 2015 garden 035

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Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day technically falls on the 22nd of each month, and it is only the 21st.

Yet foliage is the hot topic of conversation among my gardening friends this week as we look around in dismay at our overgrown gardens.  That may not be the sort of foliage this meme is intended to highlight, of course; but the unplanted abundance of grasses and other ‘volunteers’ has gotten ahead of many of us in this heat and humidity.

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July 20, 2015 garden 004

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My timing has not been praiseworthy this past month on very much, and certainly not on keeping up with the round of blogging memes.

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Hardy Begonia grows in this mixed pot with Oxalis and creeping Jenny.

Hardy Begonia grows in this mixed pot with Oxalis and creeping Jenny.  Autumn ferns grow nearby on a shady slope in the back garden.

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How long since I’ve actually filled a Vase on Monday or observed a proper Wordless Wednesday?  As you might guess, my time and energy are re-focused at the moment on a very non-garden related cause.  So I will grab onto this opportunity to craft a preemptive foliage post, and beg your understanding that it comes a day early.

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Coleus with Colocasia

Coleus with Colocasia

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The garden is currently on ‘auto-pilot’ and I feel grateful to make a morning or evening walk-about to water a bit and take photos.  Any serious work out of doors is on hold until the weather pattern shifts.

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Pineapple mint

Pineapple mint

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The lovely lush grass will just have to keep growing for a few more days/weeks/months into and around my once carefully planted beds.  C’est la vie…

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The path behind the 'butterfly garden' is a bit overgrown at the moment...

The path behind the ‘butterfly garden’ is a bit overgrown at the moment…

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I’m just grateful to live in an air-conditioned home in this age of unprecedented heat.  Between the unusually high humidity, frequent showers, and oppressive heat; it is hard to spend long out of doors.  Many of the plants love it, but the humans find themselves drenched in perspiration just walking out to the air conditioned car!

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This has been a good year to begin a 'bog garden.'

This has been a good year to begin a ‘bog garden.’

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There is a reason our garden looks tropical this summer!

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A native pitcher plant digests whatever creatures explore these unusual leaves.

A native pitcher plant digests whatever creatures explore these unusual leaves.

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But there is balance in all things.  As I study the progress and prodigious growth of grasses around the ornamentals, I remember that they are trapping carbon from the air with every passing moment of growth.  It doesn’t really matter whether the growing foliage is something we planted or not; every growing leaf and twig filters the air and gives us fresh oxygen to breathe.

A lovely thought, though it likely won’t make a dent in the planetary forces driving these odd weather patterns.

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Begonia 'Gryphon' grows lush this July.

Begonia ‘Gryphon’ grows lushly this July despite competition from grape vines and other Begonias.  Yucca leaves grow behind its pot.

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At least the weeds also protect the soil during torrential rains.  Or so my partner reminds me on the rare occasions he sees me pulling them out by their roots.

There is a certain logic there, and I acquiesce to his greater wisdom these days.   Watching video of flooding elsewhere makes us grateful for our blessings and a lot less obsessive about our landscape.

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Wild Tradescantia  crops up among the grasses in some of the garden beds.  This more cultivated variety is one I planted this spring.  Here, it grows uphill, reaching for the light.

Wild Tradescantia crops up among the grasses in some of the garden beds. This more cultivated variety is one I planted this spring. Here, it grows uphill, reaching for the light.

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Yet tropical growth also harbors tropical style infestations of certain insects.  The fly swatter came out of storage as my partner bravely battles with those tiny black mosquitoes which steal into the house these days!  We grow mindful of them whenever we open a door.

They like him far better than they like me; or maybe its just that they find less exposed skin to attack on me!

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Coleus with a sweet potato vine

Coleus with a sweet potato vine

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No matter, my latest infestation of chigger bites are still healing, thus the protective clothing.  Disgusting, but I’m even wearing socks while these things heal.

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July 20, 2015 garden 028

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And the Cannas, Hibiscus and roses have fared no better against the hungry Japanese beetles who have settled in for the foreseeable future.  Their foliage is more riddled with holes than our skin with bites.

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July 13, 2015 flowers 017

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Trying to practice what I preach, so far I’ve relied on the hungry birds to hunt them.

Twice I’ve pruned the roses with bucket in hand, drowning a few in Borax laced soapy water.   July offers a powerful challenge to the most sincere sentiments of Ahimsa, or harmlessness and universal love.

How much love can I muster for those shiny green beetles munching our roses?  Is it a loving act to release them from their chitin clad bodies back to the universe?

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July 20, 2015 garden 031

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But looking past the beetles are the bees; squadrons of them!  We are happy to see them methodically moving from flower to flower, gathering what they may.

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July 20, 2015 garden 027

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There is no shortage of bumble bees here, although spotting a honey bee is a much rarer event.  Bumblebees, wasps of every description, dragon and damselflies entertain us with their swooping flights around the garden.  The occasional butterfly flutters past, a reminder to persevere against all odds.

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Joe Pye Weed, a popular stopping place for all pollinators.

Joe Pye Weed, a popular stopping place for all pollinators.

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One can’t live this long without learning a thing or two about stubbornness and patience; and flexibility.  As I heard so often growing up, “This too, shall pass.”  Someone in the house had read Ecclesiastes a time or three….

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Coleus with Oxalis

Coleus with Oxalis

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And perhaps we can read this lesson in our gardens, as well; watching the magical processes of growth and passing away.

For the moment, I am happy that the garden continues to grow in beauty and abundance.  I know what is happening out there, even though much of my foliage gazing these days happens through the windows…

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Hazelnuts are ripening on the trees.

Hazelnuts are ripening on the trees.

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I appreciate Christina, who gardens in the Hesperides,  for hosting this Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day meme on the 22nd of each month. She challenges us to focus on the foliage in our gardens; not just the flowers.  I feel certain she will understand this early entry, and hope July finds her garden growing as abundantly as ours.

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Begonia

Begonia

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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July 20, 2015 garden 033

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“Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better,

than that a man should rejoice in his own works;

for that is his portion:

for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”

Ecclesiastes 3:22

 

 

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

11 responses to “Foliage Everywhere

  1. Well you beat me to it this month! Your garden demonstrates perfectly what foliage looks like in wet humid conditions what ever the temperatures; my post shows what dry heat does – not so pretty, but less weeds. Difficult for me to pick a star foliage image, they all look fabulous to me. thanks for taking time from a busy life to join GBFD this month, Christina

    • Thank you, Christina 😉 Given the choice, I’ll take the moist and humid any day for the garden’s good, although hot and dry is certainly more comfortable for people! I’ve lost 2 new Lavender plants already although I planted them high and mulched with gravel. They just wilt in this 100% humidity! Thank you for your kind words! My pleasure to join in again, and I’ll pop over to enjoy your post soon 😉

  2. Yes, the weeds are surging ahead in this heat and humidity, though today was a bit drier and it is cooling off nicely tonight. I’m ready for it! Love your pink begonia and the combo of oxalis and coleus is so nice. I had to laugh about sending the J.beetles back to the Universe. I’m doing the same with them and the slugs, “Better luck next life!” 😉

    • Yes, let’s hope they ascend the evolutionary chain and enjoy a better life 😉 Since we have neither drought or flood, I hate to complain too much. We had a brief shower this afternoon and I hope it was enough to dampen the baskets and pots…. since I didn’t today 😦 Apparently, Consumer Reports in their August issue finally spoke out about the health dangers of ingredients in several popular and readily available herbicides, including Round Up. Good for them! These dangerous chemicals should never be released into the ecosystem, and I’m glad they are getting the publicity they deserve. It is so easy for some people to spray these noxious chemicals and not give a second thought to their long term effects. I would rather learn to live with the weeds, or find an organic solution, like white vinegar. I know you have strong feelings on this too, Eliza, and hope you’ve already found the article. Giant hugs, WG ❤ ❤ ❤

      • The public really needs to hear the truth about the poisons to which they are exposing themselves, their families, pets and the greater earth. Let’s hope the awareness grows until these companies are out of business!

  3. Beautiful series of photos, WG. You’ve managed to capture the heat and humidity so well. “C’est la vie…” is right. Our grass is badly in need of mowing, and I managed about an hour out there today, but that hardly put a dent in things. We have not had the rain you’ve had, yet somehow the grass and weeds continue to grow and grow along with the heat and humidity.

    I hope all is well. Ugh to the chigger bites. They take a very long time to heal, don’t they?

    • Robin, I admire your efforts to mow and make an effort at the weeds. My husband keeps up the mowing, but I have left down my part with the weed eater lately. Our first summer here, the mowing got ahead of us as we moved in. It all gets out of hand so fast! With our high humidity, the grass is as wet as if it had rained every morning, just from the dew. The chigger bites itched for days, but now are mostly healed. The bandaids I wore over many of them reacted with my skin ( the heat, of course) and left sores beside the bites, which are finally healing up this week. It has made me very cautious about getting back in the game 😉 How is your scrounger’s garden coming along? I saw photos of a garden near Tucson where an old Singer sewing machine, an old typewriter, and other old machines were featured among the plants in a side garden. I thought of you 😉 Hope you are surviving July OK 😉 All is well here- I’m just immersed in some community projects at the moment. WG

  4. you do have some stunning plants in your garden !!!

  5. That first photo is a winner. We’re having a bit of a cooling down period here. Guess I’d best get out there and enjoy it.

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