July - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

Maine has had one of the wettest, coolest springs I’ve ever experienced. The back yard continues to have standing water so, we haven’t been able to mow some areas at all. Black fly, mosquito and tick populations have exploded. I ran out between showers this morning to take a few photos and was immediately bombarded. As I held my camera, mosquitos landed on both wrists while others crawled on my face and got into my hair. I quickly ran to the garden to empty water-filled plant trays before escaping to the house. It’s not a good day to be outside! The weather forecast for tomorrow is sunny and dry. I’ll start my day covered in long pants, garden gloves, a hat and bug repellent!
While I’m a little bit fed up with all this moisture, it has a good side too! Many plants have never been more beautiful. My crabapples and rhododendrons had the best floral display in years. Water-loving hosta, rodgersias, astilboides and ferns have developed the largest leaves ever. And, obviously, I haven’t had to water the garden.

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: View through a weeping crabapple.

Garden shed flanked by large-leafed rodgersia and astilboides.

So, tomorrow, dressed to do battle with insects, I’ll be in my garden. While I’ve been inside avoiding rain and insects, weeds have been sprouting and spreading. I’ve weeded and mulched almost every bed at this point – paying attention to finishing the public areas in the front yard first.  I prefer the appearance of dark bark mulch because it contrasts so nicely with flowers and foliage alike. A nicely edged, weed-free, mulched bed is a sight to behold. Mulch is like frosting on the cake!

Rosy Lights’ azalea bloomed late, but the display was remarkable.

Dark mulch contrasts beautifully with the leaves of ‘Fireworks’ hosta.

As the warmer days of summer begin, my garden is beginning to explode with color. Oriental poppies, thrift and a few peonies are stealing the show this week. I can see that next week’s peony display will be even more impressive…. and so, the summer goes. As one part of the floral display fades another takes center stage. I am merely a player in my little part of paradise. This is pure happiness!

Thrift (Armeria maritima) lines a gravel path.  

The first Peony, Karl Rosenfield to bloom is always so special.