Garden Report, July 2015

What a summer we are having! Records have been shattered everywhere due to the continuing heat and drought, and although we have been fortunate enough to avoid the temperature extremes here on the coast, the lack of measurable rainfall, less than 1/4 inch since the end of May, has doubled the workload.

Day after day of sun has stimulated growth and produced wonderful blooms that last for weeks in the shadier parts of the garden. The candelabra bed has put on a magnificent show this year, with bloom beginning in very early spring and lasting throughout the month of June. Astilbe are coming on strong and promising a spectacular showing this year as long as the deer leave them alone; the persistent sprayings of deer repellent seem to be somewhat successful so far.

Perhaps even more remarkably, rhododendron and azaleas continue to bloom; as this has been going on since November of last year, I find myself beginning to more or less take it for granted! It will be interesting to see if it continues, and for how long. Certainly, the usual glorious spring display was a little more understated than in prior years, and some blooms failed to open properly, but it's rather wonderful to be enjoying the fresh springlike ambiance they now bring to the summer garden.

The Japanese Iris erupted in bloom just a few days after the Garden Festival, so, regrettably, our guest speaker Chad Harris, who specializes in growing and hybridizing wetland iris, did not see them in their full glory but was most generous with his advice and instruction on how and when to dig and divide them for the best results. The plants have not been divided for several years, consequently are not as large and vigorous as they should be, however, flower production was far better than usual, perhaps another benefit of this most unseasonal season.

The potting area fencing and gate are now completed, thanks to Wally Brown, with the help of handyman Steve. Wally has also constructed a metal trellis from livestock fence panels that he has attached to the timbers of the East Garden landing area to support the clematis there. The trellis replaces a row of sickly taxus (yew) which have provided support for the clematis. Plans are to remove all the dying plants and add 2 or3 more clematis.

Although the work load has been intense, we are miraculously still attracting new volunteers. Kim Gibson is back after an extended absence, and June saw the addition of no less than 3 more, Roberta Baker, Sue Reynolds (already a member and commutes from Portland!), and Lily Benham(just 14 years old). We now have 13 garden volunteers, in addition to those who wear other hats and work part time or occasionally in the garden. Simply astounding!

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