Uprush of Growth, Dog Days of Summer

August 15, Port Medway

I’ve been reading “Heat Wave” by Penelope Lively. It’s set in the English countryside during the summer. This passage caught my eye: “The year has turned. That uprush of growth is done with. The place is full to the brim and somehow static. The trees droop over pools of shade. The fields have dusky margins of nettle…” That’s exactly how it is here, I thought, looking over our gardens in Nova Scotia. Full to the brim but static, at least for the moment. The dog days of summer have arrived.

The Seaside Garden in August and in need of…something.

Looking a bit better from this angle.

The ancient Greeks thought the dog days brought heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. For us at the Port Medway gardens, yes to the first four, but no to fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. Well, there has been some bad luck. And, come to think of it, hardly any thunderstorms. Wait! Is that a dog I hear barking?

Rosa rugosa’s final bloom and the first blush of rose hips.

Roadside garden with waning goatsbeard and persicaria along with hydgrangea, ligularia, cimicifuga, grasses and daylily to prop it all up.

Some of the garden looks drab – sorry, I mean static. The roses, peonies, poppies, malva, delphiniums, false indigo, goat’s beard, azaleas, bleeding hearts, trillium, clematis, salvia, baptisia, verbascum – I could go on – have pretty much had it by now. But all is not lost. The roses will have a second blooming. The rugosa is beginning to create magnificent hips. Flowers on the peonies have gone, but the handsome foliage remains.

Beautiful clematis filigree seed heads, and limelight hydrangea, in, well the limelight of the seaside garden.

The clematis seed heads are superb. Some hydrangeas remain lush and full. The pollinator garden is going great guns, swarmed by bees, butterflies and humming birds (see our last post).

The pollinator garden, still lush and alive with bees, birds, butterflies.

But other plants, many plants, are not just static or exhausted or done, but wretched. Particularly the persicaria, now looking like a mass of unwashed and uncut hair after three months in lockdown. Lynn, maybe we should get rid of the persicaria?

Problem persicaria, wonderful in bloom but rather tatty as the hot summer progresses. It spreads, as my dad would say, like billy-o.

The smaller roadside garden with gooseneck loosestrife, eryngium, bergamot, heathers, and of course the insinuating butterbur.

Grapes! The first fruit after three years of neglect. We tucked the vine in around a fence of our daylily garden.

So, as the end of August approaches, what is there to look forward to? We have a huge Montauk daisy that blooms in September, nice but a bit dull. The Jerusalem artichokes come to life around the same time. Not very exciting. Lynn doesn’t like Jersualem artichokes. But, I tell her, they’re very tall and they anchor that back bit of the seaside garden. She’s not persuaded. She wants to replace them with veronicastrum, an August plant that also grows tall if it’s in the right place. Veronicastrum happens to be a favourite of mine.

Okay, Lynn.


Bees on the veronicastrum. More of this, less of that other thing….

3 thoughts on “Uprush of Growth, Dog Days of Summer”

  1. the seaside garden is sooooo very beautiful…that view! …some current or about to bloom ideas from my garden…liatris, japanese toad lily, japanese anemone.

    1. Hey Sylvia, I moved some liatris to one of the cottage gardens and we have tonnes of anemone so maybe! Once the Russian sage and globe thistle fill out
      we should be in business but it’s looking pretty threadbare in places, that’s for sure. I’ll look up Japanese toad lily. Hope you are well! Thanks for dropping by
      the blog…

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