I think a terrible winter must be good for a flower-filled summer. Was it the seven-foot snowbanks that surrounded the house like a frozen fortress for two months? Or the long, prolonged winter cold, owing to that heavy snow cover, which made life in Massachusetts feel like living next to a meat locker with the door open?
Whatever the reason, this year's flowering plants and vegetables are lusher than I can ever remember.
With my limited resources and equipment, basically me behind my Sony point-and-shoot, I'm striving for a few panorama shots.
Here are some of the results: Photo number one. The yellow stella d'oro daylilies (in their second week of blooming) dominate the foreground. We also see some flowering stalks of both red and white astilbe, pink tufts of cosmos, and behind the contrastingly dark red blossoms of coreopsis.
The second shot focuses on our large red spirea shrub. It blooms in June and is still carrying on these days, though most of the blossoms have faded. In the foreground you can see the thick patch of yellow loosestrife flowers (on dark, wine-purple stems); then the big native orange daylilies in the background; along with some bi-colored dogwood branches on the left of the frame. And, behind all these guys, in the background against the fence, an example of our newest arrivals, the Green Giant Arborvitae recently planted to provide some privacy coverage because by all accounts THEY GROW FAST. We shall see. We need some height back there to hide behind.
The next photo focuses on the round flower heads of that maroon coreopsis, another recent arrival, since I planted it only this spring. These plants were wilting in the nursery, their long stringy stems tangling with one another, but something about the color made me think it was worth taking a chance on them. They perked up marvelously once I got them in the ground in a spot I think of as part-sun.
I think it may be all that melt-water in the ground that's still nourishing the roots of pernnials like coreopsis. I know I'm not watering like I did last year.
The fifth photo is a solo portrait of dark pink knockout rose bushes, that started late this year but bloomed all together. The plants waited until the end of June to thicken up and blossom, after wearing heavy winter coats of snow piled up from shoveling the front sidewalk time and again. We don't mind the wait. Experience shows they bloom on and on through the rest of the year. The challenge is staying ahead of the black-spot disease that claims both leaves and branches and the season goes on. Maybe the cold has killed off some of these spores.
The next photo concentrates on a happy hydrangea. Also in the front garden, the lace-cap hydrangea gets bigger and more flowerful every year. Most of the blossoms are pink, but some show a kind of purple. Color change in hydrangeas reflects the soil balance between acidic and basic chemistry, a subject I'm completely remiss in. I've never had my soil tested.
The fourth photo from the top shows the white Shasta daisies, which are simply stronger and more perfectly shaped than they've been for years. I know no reason for it. Do they too prefer a more punishing climate? They bloomed all June, the blossoms appear to be lasting longer. Behind these white blooms you can see the raspberry bushes with green fruit. I took the photo before the fruit ripened. Now I pick raspberries every day and can't get them all in before a few at least fall to the ground.
The last photo shows the orange daylilies blooming behind the branches of the dogwood, and the arborvitae behind them against the fence. There's more color out there in nature, especially in the daylilies and the yellow flowering loosestrife than these photos captured, but light isn't strong enough to show them truly.
I think I'll go outdoors and try to do better. Right now.