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Garden Diary: Summer in full bloom

Garden Diary: Summer in full bloom

Summertime brings rewards and challenges to the gardens at our studios in Aurora, New York. The rewards are the lush and abundant blooms, of course. The challenges are the weather conditions.

Rainfall in our corner of Upstate New York has been down this year, while temperatures have soared to 90 degrees or more on at least 10 days (and counting). We have limited in-ground sprinklers, so until Mother Nature finally pitched in with some recent rain, estate manager Corinne Bowman and her crew had been watering daily, usually in the early morning so the plants have enough moisture to get through the day’s heat.

On our 65-acre campus located in the Finger Lakes, our gardens are in shady and sunny areas. Perennials, including an abundance of snowball hydrangeas, are the backdrops in both locations. In our Chicken Palace Garden and Farmhouse Garden, which are both in full sun, monarda, coneflowers, and phlox bloom, mixed with lots of daylilies in varying shades of yellow, red, and orange.

Contrasting with those sun-loving flowers are our shade dwellers. Hosta in several varieties and colors thrive in our Stream Garden and Pond Garden. Another shady spot that’s full of color is the Courtyard Garden. In addition to the dependable hosta, it’s home to annuals that include impatiens, begonias, coleus, and purple sweet potato vine.

Meanwhile, at the other end of our property, our vegetable and herb gardens are coming along. Corinne is really pleased by the Vegetable Patch and says it’s looking as good as it ever has, thanks to a new 8-foot-tall, deer-sturdy fence. Just about everything in this garden was started from seeds sewn directly in the ground, including radishes, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, Swiss chard, and a fun purple variety of cauliflower called Graffiti. Next to that garden are several plots that include herbs like lavender, oregano, and basil.

Beyond those gardens is our Pumpkin Patch, which should come into its own by late September or early October. It’s planted with pumpkins and gourds in several varieties and colors. Also, on the horizon are the fall perennials, including sedum, ornamental grasses, and anemones, as well as the eventual planting of thousands of spring-blooming bulbs.

It’s a lot to look forward to, and in between the watering and the weeding, it keeps Corinne and her crew focused on what’s coming next.

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