One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Summer, Act One Finale


What a summer it’s been…and really, that was just July.   In contrast to the seemingly-infinite rains of June, July’s been sunny and bright (and rainy, too) and also darned hot a few times (although only relatively speaking – nothing compared to what friends in the Pacific Northwest have had recentlyI would just melt if it were 106 here…).   Never try to make small talk with a gardener about the weather…it’ll always be more than you bargained for.

Meteorological conditions to the side, July was a sweet month in lots of ways.  At the heart of that was reunions with old friends, but adjunct to those reunions have been a whole host of fun Cape Cod in Summer activities as backdrop for our catching-ups, and those can be awfully fun, too!   The shopping, the walking, the swimming (yep, I’ve even been bobbing about in the icy Atlantic), the climbing (Pilgrim Monument, yes from the inside…), sunset beachwalks, oysters…the list goes on.


Indeed, it’s been a lovely season in so many ways.  This latest reunion came when my old pal (I can say that without worry…we have known one another a long time…and as it turns out, I’m still older than she…) Heidi washed up for a quick overnight visit to Cape Cod with her daughter, Margo.   Ah, what a treat.  Heidi and I hadn’t seen one another (except in the occasional photo) in about 24 years.   We’ve been in touch on and off, and more on than off in the last year or so, as our lives led us along somewhat similar paths.

What a joy it was, though, to embrace…and then quickly pick up our friendship as though no time at all had passed (ha, do the math – I was TWENTY when I last saw her!) and without a shred of awkwardness or anything.   What a treat!      Such a funny thing memory is, the way you can seem to not remember anything, and then the description of a recalled moment brings so many other things rushing  back.  And how life changes us along the way.

Margo was very patient with us as we reviewed the past, every now and then drifting through the room to mutter the word beach, in hopes of teasing us from our reveries.   Eventually, we did get them checked into their motel and found ourselves at Marconi Beach, where the cold Atlantic waited on a hot summer afternoon.  Brrr, but ahhhh, too.   After dinner, we wandered back to Eastham where we took in the sunset at First Encounter Beach and mucked about on the tidal flats, where we got some very nice folks to capture this wonderful picture for us.


Purples Hydrangea





As July becomes August, the gardens are in pretty good shape.   I’m a little disappointed that none of the lilies I planted this spring came to much of anything and the same, sadly, seems to be true of the dahlias.  I wonder if the heavy rains of June are to blame, or perhaps some  eager underground varmints.   We do seem to have extensive mole tunnels throughout the  yard, although my experience is that they generally tunnel around bulbs and such.   Perhaps we have a hungrier variety hereabouts.

There’s no shame in having to touch up a garden halfway through the summer, though.  Things happen.  Plants die.   And fortunately, all the decent nurseries saved the annuals we didn’t buy earlier in the year and repotted them and kept them growing and are happy to sell them to us in a larger form now.

So last weekend, to fill in a few holes in the garden along the southern side of the house, I picked up some assorted zinnias and also some blue ageratum and did a little weeding and replanting of this bed.


There’s already plenty going on, as you can see, but much of that is perennial in nature (daisies, daylilies, black-eyed susans, hydrangeas) and some of that will be done soon.  There’s also some survivors of some early June seeding I did, and we may yet see some more zinnias and perhaps a few bachelor’s buttons here, as well.

The new additions should assure us some color on into September…and just for extra measure, I did a final seeding of allyssum along the front of the bed, in two colors.  Oh, as a bonus, in the gardens on this side of the house (where Halloween pumpkins were hosted on the stoop last fall), I discovered we have three different volunteer pumpkin vines, doing quite happily for all our neglectful ignorance.


In the containers of the deck garden, things are going along pretty nicely.   One of the sweet pea vines seems to be dying from the bottom up, but the others are still nicely producing a few flowers every couple of days, enough to continue to snip them to bring inside for a tiny arrangement (seen here with a bit of purple marine heliotrope).


Some of the zinnias and the heliotrope were looking a little ragged and the lobelia has paused in its blooming.  I’m a little out of practice with containers, where you can quickly go from being overwatered by too much rain to dry as dust in the hot sun.   Mostly I’ve been doing well about knowing when to water and when not, but I’ve had a few misteps along the way.  Meanwhile, most plants are doing nicely now and as I’ve pruned off much of the telltale dead foliage from those that faded a little, and they are starting to perk up once more.


No climbing vine photos this time around, which shouldn’t lead you to believe there isn’t impressive growth going on.  Nothing like some hot summer sunshine to encourage morning glories and cardinal climbers to spiral around trellaces and posts, racing skyward.  The latter haven’t begun blooming just yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be too much longer.  We’ll see.

In assorted pots just about everywhere, these little button zinnias are popping into bloom, many of them the spoils of my indoor zinnia seeding project of late winter.   They are making themselves known in a host of colors:  yellow, orange, red, white…and pink, like these little buttercream sweeties.     I also noticed that some of the bachelors buttons I seeded into a variety of different pots are growing nicely, though there are no blooms in sight just yet.   More treats for September.


Here’s the best I could do for getting a group photo of all the porch plantings and to get that, I had to lean out over the side of the deck.   I’d have gotten a better shot from the roof, perhaps, but you’ll find no daredevil here.


Summer’s Second Act is about to begin, but I think I’ll find the character of things has changed a bit.   I know I’ll be mellowing out my frantic summer fun pace, since the end of this week finds me going in for a bit of surgery.  “A bit of surgery.”  Ha, you’d almost think I wasn’t freaking out about it at all, wouldn’t you?

Actually, I’m doing much better now.   And the thing is, it’s not such a major procedure, really.  I mean, I’m having this because a hernia was discovered during a routine physical, so the repair job is largely preventative and not because I’ve done myself some catastrophic damage that needs fixing.   I expect I’ll be back on my feet after a few days, but I’m told sitting may remain uncomfortable for longer than that.   (So great.  Not only will I be recovering from going under the knife for the first time ever, but I’ll be suffering Facebook withdrawals, to boot.   Heh.)


I was driving myself a little barmy with worry earlier in the day.  It’s just not fair:  Heat vision, Flight, Super Strength, Telekinesis.  So many super-powers to choose from and I get Worse Case Scenario Vision.   Even Superman’s Freezy Breath would be better.  Ugh.

Mostly I was a little frantic about pulling details together:  wanting to get the apartment tidied a bit, needing to make sure that things in the office are ready for me to be away from it for nearly a week…and of course, there’s the procedure itself, with which I’ve no real familiarity.   Just for fun, the adhesive-backed picture hangers have been taking turns failing, dropping their framed photo collages when I’m least in the mood.  For a bonus, today was probably the wrong day for me to come across an online article about things to worry about when visiting the hospital, so there’s that, too.

I’m happy to say that I was able to get away for a sunset walk after dinner tonight.   It helped a lot to get my brain out for a walk, to let it sort through things while I strolled along the usual way, looking into assorted gardens, watching the sun sink toward the horizon, listening to the birds and the crickets (whose song has suddenly begun to ring through the night with the turning of the calendar page).   It’s really hard to stay all knotted up and freaked out, too, when you take your shoes off and walk barefoot through some soft white beach sand.

So, I’ll be away from the blog for a bit.   Hopefully not too long, as I do already have some additional posts planned to share with you, and since its August, there’s always more to see and do.  Meanwhile, don’t worry about me:  Mom and Dad are coordinating a bit of Cape vacation time so they’ll be around to look in on me and I have a feeling Nurse Kitty will take good care of me, too.

No doubt he’ll be touting catwalking as great physical therapy.



Comments on: "Summer, Act One Finale" (6)

  1. I know you’re in good hands, er paws, with nurse kitty. He’s a renowned purrologist.

    Hee hee. That he is, Jeaux. Thanks.

  2. remember to take care of yourself after surgery. stock up on foods that are quick and easy to prepare. you’ll not want to stand and cook for a while. ask friends for help when you need to. all too often people try to do things on their own and end up injuring themselves. that would suck.

    thanks for the pictures of flowers. it nearly helps that i’ve not got a garden.

  3. I’ll be thinking about you, Greg, sending my good vibes your way! Don’t worry–you’ll be in and out in no time, and lounging at home basking in the meds before you know it! ;)

  4. The fence gardens are looking particularly pleasant, my dear.
    Best wishes on your procedure, and I hope for a speedy and relatively pain-free recovery.

  5. Whoa! I go on vacation and this is what I find! You’ll be fine; I had hernia surgery when I was two, and I was allowed to swing on the swingset after a couple of days. Sure stops those stomachaches.

    Be well, my friend, and let us know how you’re doing. Prayers for you lifting upward.

  6. That beautiful sunset picture kind of relaxes my mind. I really enjoyed these pictures.


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