Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Day for Catching Up at the Big House Garden

Today was one of the first really blistering hot days we've had this year, but which I'm sure we'll have many more of as the summer goes on.  It was a reminder that summer is coming to Atlanta, and it's the price we pay for having such mild (usually....) winters.  I'm still more than happy to put up with this heat than the winter snows of New England.

Chuck and I got an early start at the Big House garden, when the air was still cool and damp (low 60's).  It's always fairly quiet in that garden, but for some reason on Sundays it seems particularly so.  We were each doing our own thing in different parts of the garden, so it was an opportunity to just enjoy the garden and the quiet.

Even though this is a time of year when things are visibly growing every day, we're at the point now of having a little bit of time to step back, clean and organize.  The greenhouse is 99% empty, with just the last of the plants there that live there permanently.   The huge alcocasia and begonia are each planted in "elderly" containers that can't be moved.  They are both pretty major background players in winter, but seem a little lonely now.  Next week we'll do "the big clean" of the greenhouse to get rid of any winter funk that might still be around.
This was also my morning to start some ruthless thinning in the perennial bed in the walled garden.  When it was installed four years ago, the wish was for "instant full," AKA lots of invasives.  Today was time to tear out lots of hooligan rudbeckia, New England asters that are completely out of control, verbena bonarensis and the like.  By 10:30 this morning, the sun was up and it was already getting a little unbearable in those beds.

At the pond, the koi are loving the fact that the water is now safely above 70 degrees, and they're at their most active.  As much as my logical side says, "They're just fish," I find it very entertaining that they will immediately come up to me when I walk up to the edge of the ponds.  I think it's something about their association of food with the fat guy with the blue shirts.....Anyway, I got a few new plants installed, a giant blue lobelia and a dwarf cattail in the bog (that's the only cleaning system....we're chemical free), and a pretty awesome tropical water lily called "Starbright" in the big pond.  It was my own little version of swimming with the stingrays to walk in the pond, having the big fish fully comfortable approaching me to see what I was doing.  I think they were all a little disappointed I was only bearing flowers today......
The Dwarf Cattail and the Blue Lobelia for the bog, above, and the new apricot water lily called "Starbright," below.


  1. Hi Tim,
    I'm new to your blog but am very impressed with what I have had time to read so far. Great picture of the alcocasia, I wish our weather would warm up so I can move the big plants out of my greenhouse, but that is Oregon for ya :o)

  2. I never thought of the mind of a fish as being all that complex, but mine recognize me or at least recognize a food source and always come to the surface when I near. Yet, they can hide very quickly when a racoon approaches.

  3. I love the pic of the lobelia. Makes me want a bog to plant it in.