Tuesday, June 21, 2011


by Sophie Anderson

As I begin to write this post, at noon on Tuesday, June 21, the summer solstice is set to occur in this time zone in 16 minutes. Supposedly, that will be the start of our summer. However, it is just a continuation of a long, cold and wet spring. Bismarck is soaked, sodden, and partly submerged in places.

by Charles Edward Wilson

"Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink." No, it isn't sea water, but I am sure it is contaminated. Water is coming from the river, it's coming up from the ground and yesterday it was pouring down from the skies. This morning it was drizzling, and we have a forecast of rain for this afternoon and tomorrow. All in all, it makes for one soggy summer solstice.

by Albert Fuller Graves

I have been able to get my container gardening (pots and baskets) finished, but I have nine kinds of plants I haven't been able to get in the ground. I had plans for a small garden bed right underneath my living room window. Here, I was going to put in delphiniums, Victoria blue salvia, yellow daisies, bachelor's buttons, hollyhocks, cleome, cosmos, stocks and a lovely (and new to me) blue-flowering plant called star flower or laurentia.

by J. W. Waterhouse

I purchased the plants a while back and now they are just sitting there, as I can't seem to beg, borrow or steal someone to turn over the bed for me (I can't do it myself this year - too much leg pain). I can't even buy someone to do it! I hired one guy and he did do some yard work earlier but is too busy now, and no one has answered my online ad.

ARRANGING FLOWERS)" by Gustave Courbet

It seems as if I will never, ever have the beautiful gardens I dream of. First of all, I live in the wrong country. My ultimate dream is to have the eclectic sprawl of perennials, roses, shrubs, and vines that is the essence of the English cottage garden, the kind shown in paintings by Helen Allingham. This garden is bursting at the seams, lush, charmingly sprawled out, unplanned and slightly wild.

by Rosemary Sumner

Trouble is, I've never had much luck with quite a few of the plants that are essential to the English cottage garden, such as Canterbury bells, lupines, lavender, phlox, foxglove, primroses and wallflowers. Those gorgeous David Austin roses, chosen for cottage gardens because of their old-fashioned look (multi-petaled form and rosette-shaped flowers), die off here after one season.

by Frederick Childe Hassam

Even worse, I than living in the wrong country, I live in the wrong area of the United States. Depending on which climate zone you look at, Bismarck is in either Zone 4a or 3b, or sits directly on the line between them. There are so many plants which appeal to me but are hardy only to Zone 5, for example, scabiosa, so-called "hardy" mums and the beautiful "Knockout" roses. Unfortunately, some garden centers around here, especially ones at the big box stores, sell these sure-to-disappoint plants.

by Daniel Ridgeway Knight

Add to these woes the fact that my backyard is mostly shaded by a huge old elm. Don't get me wrong, I love this tree, but it is not conducive to growing sun-loving plants.

by Walter Duncan

Of course, there are still many perennials I can grow in the limited sunny patches available to me, including salvia, purple prairie coneflowers, liatris, coreposis, daylilies, Oriental lilies, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies, hollyhocks, heliopsis, campanulas and dianthus.

by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

This year, after several years of not gardening at all, I concentrated on my deck and my front yard. Next year - provided we have a summer - I hope to put in a perennial garden in the back yard featuring the above-mentioned plants.

by Myron G. Barlow

In the meantime, I'll leave you with pictures of beautiful women picking equally beautiful flowers in some wondrous place where it's always summer, the plants are always full and lush, there are no drought, insect or plant disease problems, and it's not raining!

Pierre Andre Brouillet


Unknown said...

i adore sophie anderson!

Robin Larkspur said...

So you will embrace the shade, or the dappled shade and find the plants that will thrive in your environment....a challenge, but also an adventure. And container gardening is equally as rewarding. I am turning more to containers than ever before. Good luck, and hopefully some dry weather will be headed your way! Solstice blessings to you and yours.

Kath said...

Solstice blessings dear Julie!

Lynda said...

It's a soggy summer solstice here in Wales too!

Leanne said...

solstice blessings from me as well julie. Leanne x

Annie Jeffries said...

Hi Julie,

While you are sweltering in a bog, we are evaporating in the furnace common to our area this time of year. Triple digits today and dry as a bone, it is.

I was shocked last night as I watched the weather channel and saw the eastern portion of the US cover in nothing but rain and a promise of more rain.

Biting my tongue here, but with fires so awful in AZ, NM, and parts of CO, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that for once we are not subjected to the horrible fires that afflict CA from mid-summer well into the fall.

Do you have a gardening club, university, master gardener access in your area? Perhaps you can find someone through them. And how about the girlscouts or boyscouts as a service project. Local churches might be a good place to connect with young people for service projects as well.

Best of luck and I sure hope we see some pictures of your blooming garden.


Shopgirl said...

Weather, can't seem to make us happy. I went from the gray wet dys and cold winds to 95 today...so I get that yesterday was the first day of summer.
Stay cool. Mary