OLG (Old Lady Gardener) #5 The Green of Summer

Greens with Purple Palace leaves hiding

Summer has hit in Minnesota. Today it is suppose to get to 96 degrees. Remember just a few weeks ago it was in the low 40’s and dipping into the high 30″s at night. It is 12 noon and we are at 90 degrees and climbing. I expect we will make that hot and humid temperature before the day ends. This means I was out early watering all the plants in the front gardens. Flower beds and veggies beds all got a long drink to help them make it through the day. The new garden beds in the back gardens are not planted yet and although that was on the plan for this afternoon I will wait till the temps come down a bit and the wind settles.

I am feeling grateful that the young guys who mow and weed wack the yard. They are out there working in the heat today – not me! This is one task that I turned over to someone younger this year. I have been mowing and hand clipping every year. (I don’t like the weed trimmer after having wrapped that plastic string around my ankle one summer. Don’t try it – it is not fun!)

These guys whip through the yard in 20 minutes – front and back. If I would be doing it the first 30 minutes would be the front yard. Then the back yard for 40 minutes and then I would need to start the trimming. You get the idea – it takes me a lot longer to complete these tasks. I am happy to write a check and hand it over each week.

But our topic today is green. The greening of summer is upon us. In Minnesota it is a wonderful event although for awhile I miss the color of flowers. June to mid July we find ourselves with a smaller amount of color. The spring is a wild burst of color. The flowering bushes – Forsythia, Spice Current, Lilacs, and more. The large trees are flowering way up in the sky with tiny flowers of reds and yellows that come raining down on us as the light green leaves begin to emerge. At the soil level there are all the spring ephemerals – Tulips, Daffodils, Bleeding hearts, Wild Ginger, May Apples to start with. These lists are things growing in my garden but if I go walking there is so much more to see. There is color everywhere and it is needed after the long months of cold, grey and white we deal with each winter.

Now it is mid June and the color fades, at least for awhile. I headed out to confirm my thinking on this field of green, I see out my air-conditioned window. The Hosta are at full size and are shades of green. The day lilies are all green leaves with no flowers for awhile. The trees are fully leafed out and there is swaying green limbs out there in the hot breeze. The spring flowers have faded away leaving the summer green perennials to grow and flower in a month or so.


So phone camera in hand I stepped out into the heat and my first find is the Weigela bush (Sonic Bloom) in full bloom – red with a touch of yellow. Wild branches everwhere. Proving my wrong about the green of early summer. In the south east bed there was the red Roses just coming into bloom and the deep reddish purple leaves of Heuchera Palace Purple (Coral Bells). Heading back to the south side of the house there was the sea of green Hostas and new Heuchera’s that are not in bloom yet.

Peony – White
Peony – Mahogany

The back yard and gardens are full of green lilic bushes and green grass and green weeds but there are the pops of color from the Peonies in full bloom. The bright white with a dash of red and deep pink shining both in the far back of the yard. On the north side there is a new peony bush that is deep red called Mahogany that has a touch of yellow. The large old fashion white peonies have not opened on this side of the gardens yet.

I left the back yard walking by another row of variegated Hostas (shades of green and yellow). In the front along the driveway were two smaller plants with purple blooms – both of which I have lost their names and will need to go look them up.

Then as I looked around I saw what is the promised of more summer color – the yellowish buds of Penstemon (Husker Red) that are getting ready to bloom. These blooms will be bright white. Over in the veggie garden there is a bed of Dahlias also developing buds that will bring the hot summer colors.

Dalhia bud
Penstemon – Husker Red

So although we have lots of green that signals summer there are flowers and color all along the way. Don’t get me wrong I love the green of summer but those splashes of color mean so much for those of us who know that the winter browns and whites will not be far off.

I guess that means I better enjoy this 98 degree day as well!

Happy Summer!

Do take time to find both the multiple greens and the high colors of summer flowers these days. A quick walk each day might surprise you in the colors you will find!

Summer Greens

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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2 Responses to OLG (Old Lady Gardener) #5 The Green of Summer

  1. Amy Ellerman says:

    Something your post elevates for me is the joy in noticing these annual patterns, recognizing the beauty and joy in each time of the year, looking forward to what we know is still to come.

  2. Mary says:

    I could experience the joys of noticing those splashy varieties of flowers as a gardener myself. Thank you for drawing us into appreciating these priceless gifts of nature. What a colourful world we live in!

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