Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seeking Shade

As predicted..... Summer is flying by! And the weather appears to be making headlines again. We are headed for another heat wave with temperatures into the triple digits during this last week of July.

I'm just recovering from a very successful week long design conference put on by the Association of Professional Landscape Designer's here in Portland from July 12- 19th. During that time we had temperatures in the mid 90's, which surprised a lot of people coming from other areas. Our last rain was back in early June, when I last posted, and we've had no rain since. ( this is very typical for us, but many people think it rains here all year long) Talks were scheduled for the morning hours, with garden tours in the afternoon. Our private gardens, as well as the numerous parks and commercial projects, seemed to be surviving the heat pretty well..... it was the people who were wilting! Now it appears that we're headed for even higher temps. And on the East coast, where rain and cooler weather have been the norm, I'm sure my friends and relatives are wishing I could send some of our heat their way! Extremes of weather do seem to be more frequent....a product of Global warming?

While touring the gardens and urban parks, it became apparent how important structures are to the garden. They not only help to connect the garden to the house, but also can offer up instant shade, (pergolas, arbors, and shade houses) and bring in cooling elements such as water, sound and the colors of a refreshing oasis. Our own house has a deck on the West side covered by a wooden trellis. Honeysuckle vines cover the top and hummingbirds hover overhead while robins nest in the large rhododendron below. It's our outdoor dining room, complete with an antique iron chandelier, and framed views looking out over the garden.

While I was enjoying the APLD Conference, my hubby was busy redoing the curved steps that were first installed over 30 years ago around the deck. The main treads were aggregate, surrounded by the then popular

'railroad ties'....which had rotted away to the point of being unsafe. Once the wood ties were removed, new forms were built to enclose the remaining aggregate with a new aggregate edge. Our old gate, brought from Pennsylvania, was given new posts and installed at the top. The path looks wider and brighter! Now I just have to keep the ground covers from creeping onto the path.

When you live on 12 acres, there are always projects to be done. Having neglected my garden for most of June and July I had a bit of catching up to do. Perennials such as Alchimilla mollis, Geranium, and Oregano had taken over some of the beds, covering up the smaller gems. Other plants needed to be deadheaded and trimmed. Needless to say....I've filled up my compost bins and lost a few pound in the process! The veggie garden is also producing an overflow of produce.....and so far the deer have kept away. We have seen a mother and two fawns return to the property lately, but there aren't many new fresh leaves available to them at this point, and the garden is securely fenced.

On a sad note...our little 'Kitty', who was 20 years old and grew up sleeping on top of both of our Rottweiler's, succumbed to old age last week. She enjoyed spending her entire life on our property under the protection of our two dogs, and particularly loved to follow me around as I worked in the garden and flower beds. She never wandered too far away, which probably accounts for her longevity! She was buried under the trees next to our new Pagoda Fountain. ( A topic for another post)