Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rain, Rain Rain

I don't know if this is the rainiest August we've ever had, but it must be close. On the upside, it's nice not to have to water and this is the first year in a long time my lawn hasn't looked like shredded wheat. Also, it is easier to weed with the ground so wet. I hope you all take advantage of this opportunity to pull weeds and get the entire root. On the down side, the mosquitos are awful and last Tuesday I awoke to a very wet basement.

We've had calls at the store about plants, container plants especially, not looking too good. The roots of all plants need to have oxygen. If they are water logged from either overwatering or too much rain, they will die. Make sure your containers and window boxes have adequate drainage and if your soils are very clay-ey add organic matter, such as a good compost, to the soil the next time you plant.

Those Summer Time Blues
I would have to say my garden is not looking at its best right at the moment. Lots of my perennials have finished blooming and the fall plants are just starting. There seems to be a little lull in the action. This is good time to consider what I like to call "garden tchotchke." I suppose when I say this the first thing that might come to mind is pink flamingoes and gnomes. And there is nothing wrong with a little whimsy in the garden. But I am really refering to garden statuary, which has a long history in garden design.

When the Victorians (both the English and moneyed Americans) did their grand tour of Europe in the 1700 and 1800s, they went to Greece and Rome and were awed by the ruins of the Acropolis and the Coliseum and other "classical" statuary. They went back home and recreated what they had seen in their own gardens. Overturned Greek columns and the like are known as "follies," since no one really expects to find actual Greek columns in someone's garden back in England.

Today statuary serves several purposes in garden design. It provides some interest at times when little else might, and it provides some structure for the garden, similar to a well placed shrub or tree. Some statuary can be whimsical or it can be "classic." And there are more choices besides just cast stone (a nice way of saying "concrete"). Ironwork comes in a variety of designs. I have an armillary (a type of sun dial) in the middle of my rose garden that has a Jackmanii clematis growing around it. Even in a perennial bed there is a place for an urn planted up with annuals to bring some color closer to your eye. Behind my pond, which is mostly planted with foliage plants I have a cool newel post that is painted bright colors and adds a bit of "pop" to the bed.

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