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."

On The Deck

“Rabbit rabbit” and welcome June!   This morning brought news of Br’er Bear‘s arrival to our town of Orleans, but I’ve not heard further updates about his whereabouts as the day progressed.    Hopefully he’s enjoying a little quiet resort time before the weather takes a turn, although he does seem to attract the occasional helicopter.

Meanwhile, I thought it was time for a few more photos from the deck garden.   When I first moved in here, I was more accustomed to growing in the ground than in containers.   As you’ve seen in the last two years, I got over that pretty quick.  One of the things I like best about my deck garden is that it’s all modular.  I can move things around so every planting gets a fair shot at the different sun exposures of different parts of the deck, and also re-arrange based on what’s blooming.  Some containers host vines like morning glories, or cucumbers and so those will get permanent locations once they start climbing the string trellaces.

Here’s some of the cucumber seedlings, lining the railing this evening, with a three year old pot of mint (it winters in the living room window) to the right.

I wish I had kept more careful records of when I planted the nasturtium seeds, but it seems it couldn’t possibly have been very long ago and these plants have jumped from the soil almost as soon as they were watered.

Here’s two pots of them (below).  In the closer pot they surround a dracaena I bought for $1 four years ago that now looks like a small palm tree and takes up a fair piece of living room real estate come winter.  I think they’ll be very happy together for the outdoor season.  In the far pot, nasturtiums and asparagus ferns join forces.

As you can see, I also employ some solar lights which shift around between pots now and then, depending on where a planter ends up and what’s needed for some basic night-lighting.   I used to have a string of solar lights strung beneath the railing, which was practical and kind of pretty, but it turned out that string of lights wasn’t in it for the long haul.   I’m shopping around for a replacement set, so fingers crossed.

This planter (above), as you can see, includes a few more iris.   I’m not sure if they’ll turn out to be the same as Charleston or something new.  Either way is just fine by me, of course.  Who can choose between variety and abundance?   Again, these guys are here for the earlier part of the season and will find their way down into the new garden bed, once that’s been properly made ready.    To the left in this planter (just above the frog – she’s a rain gauge, actually.  Hence the slicker.) is a tiny white lavendar seedling.

Center, rubbing up against the light pole is one of the agastache plants I grew from seed two summers ago.    There are several of those in other pots on the deck, as well.   They are all a little smallish, but growing nicely.   They, too, will be happy for some space in the ground at summer’s end.   There’s also a gazania in this planter, one of last summer’s stubborn annuals who survived our mild winter.   Rounding out the picture are some allyssum and sulphur cosmos seedlings and – only just emerging from the soil now – bachelor buttons.

In the foreground is a little evergreen seedling that started itself in one of my pots the first summer I was here.  Every year I put it in a slightly bigger pot, with moss around its feet to keep other plant growth down and to help hold some moisture in the pot, and that plan seems to be working out well.Ah, this planter (above) should be interesting.   Just off center, but stunning with its first flush of bloom is a marine heliotrope.   I have to have at least one of these each summer, not just for the amazing deep purple flowers, but also that amazing scent I wish I could figure out how to incorporate into my blog posts for you.   On an angle from in front of that is a diagonal line of thin leafed plants.

The first and last in that line are poker lilies, which Granny started in a pot in her Florida apartment and gave me to bring home when I saw her back  in March.   The center two are tiny dracaenas from last summer, which almost didn’t survive the winter indoors with the grazing Gray Catsby.  I think they’re recovering nicely away from his appetite.    The red shoots in front of those are some kind of bulb T sent me, possibly gladiola-like.   There’s a pair of asparagus ferns to balance things out, and then it’s all under-seeded with zinnias, four-o’clocks and allyssum.

And then probably there’ll be something else to surprise me that I’ve completely forgotten I even planted.  In the foreground here is a hearty magnolia seedling Granny sent me later this spring.   Next to that, the green pot contains the sad remains of last summer’s scented geranium I’ve been hesitant to give up on entirely.  It survived the winter indoors handily, only to die upon moving out to the deck this spring.

Sadface, but it’s one of those things that happens.

OK, so here’s a look down into the morning glory planter.   Yes, there’s more than morning glories here.   Since I know the vines like sunshine but their roots appreciate being shaded, my plan was to sow the various morning glory and moonflower seeds ringing each of the three trellace branch-leg-things, and then plant the sulphur cosmos and bachelor buttons (and – say it with me now – allyssum!)on the outside to keep the roots shaded.

I swear to you that was how the plan was enacted.   But as you can see, the plants had their own plans.   This evening I transplanted out a lot of the interior cosmos seedlings, for another pot where they’ll all thrive together.   A few I kept to try to recreate my plan for a taller margin in this pot.

But I look at all the other emerging seedlings, and I feel like an Evil Genius as I anticipate what sort of vining madness I might be creating here.   There are signs of four or five different species of morning glory in distinct leaf patterns, by my estimates – including the variegated leaf species, and also a couple of moonflowers, to keep the bloom going on into the dark.   Bwa-ha-ha.

Now, sadly, I receive no promotional consideration for the following, but One mustn’t garden in a vacuum, and it would be wrong to let you go off to play in the dirt without making sure you know about Magic Hat’s summer ale offering, Elder Betty.

Yes yes, I too thought first of this weekend’s 60th Anniversary celebrations for Queen Elizabeth, but I believe here it’s simply a play on the use of the elderberries which give this fantastic little ale such a nice floral finish.    I had my chance encounter with Betty during a moment of Social Leisure, but I imagine she’d also be quite welcoming at the end of a hot afternoon digging in the garden, too.

Here’s another look at Charleston and her daylily companions.

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Comments on: "On The Deck" (3)

  1. I am particularly eager to see how the vine container expresses itself through the season. And oh my goodness, allyssum! Who knew?
    The Cape Cod bear has my attention. Glad he’s made it to Orleans. Hope he enjoys his visit. Are those-who-know-these-things sure that the bear is male? Perhaps it’s a female. Curiouser and curiouser.

  2. midnightgardener said:

    Java, all news reports indicate that this is indeed a male bear. Lucky for us, too, prob’ly, since I bet most lady bears are managing troublesome cubs this time of year. ;)

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