Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Full Growth Mode Of Vines & Shrubs

As summer on the coast takes hold in July, the days are a little sunnier with less fog and a warmer feel to the garden. The light filters through trees and plants and makes the yard look bright, which can be unusual with our coastal foggy weather. Its not heating up too much however, the low sixties is still where we are at and usually if you sit outside for the Fourth of July you need a sweater. I'm not complaining about the weather, I love it here. Apparently the plants aren't too fussy about it either, because they are in full growth mode. In summer the fog arrives at 3:00 p.m. instead of 2:00 p.m. in our yard, its always a welcome cool breeze after hours of weekend work in the garden.

The butterfly bushes have grown one and a half to two feet tall since we trimmed them back in mid April through early May. They are so big now with thick trunks it takes a few weeks to cut them back because one or two of the bushes totally fill the garden waste can. The magenta butterfly bushes are already starting to bloom at the tips while the other bushes are still forming flowers. I only wish the blooms lasted a little longer, generally three or four weeks bloom is the maximum if we are lucky.

Speaking of butterfly bushes, I planted a rooted cutting I took from the magenta colored butterfly bush in the front yard. There is a section of the yard on the left side past the drooping cherry tree that is bare except for ornamental grass and hoards of orange crocosmia lined up against the back fence. The butterfly bush was planted right in front of them, plenty of room to grow but I'm guessing it will take a season or two for the cutting to do much since it is so small. Nonetheless the thought of a towering shrub with the brilliant magenta flowers makes me happy just to think of it filling up that empty space in the front yard.

In the back yard the kiwi vines are especially wild and leggy this year. The spring growth has produced long arms reaching upward and hanging over the lawn area, with arms of four or five feet hovering in the sky. I can see some pruning of the vines needs to be on the schedule in the coming weeks. The vines are covered in large ivory colored flowers and kiwi fruit is beginning to form. The leaves are as big as the palm of my hand if not bigger, when looking up through the vines with the sun shining around the large fleshy leaves they look other worldly. Now if only the kiwi fruit would ripen correctly this year, all would be well in our world of kiwi vines.

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