Summer lushness

We've had more rain recently, which at least in my garden means that summer is back to normal. The cooler, drier air is gone, replaced with the hot humidity that we're accustomed to in St. Louis.

This change in weather has seemingly awakened the plants, and I'd swear they're all growing before my eyes, filling up all of the available space. The only way to describe it is "lush". Let's take a look at the area just behind the house: the driveway, patio, stream, and deck.


I'll start on the driveway, since I walked out of the garage. The vines on the triangle pergola (left side of photo above) are minimal this year, with the Malabar spinach getting a late start, and some herbivore pruning the hyacinth bean earlier this summer. The maypop (Passiflora incarnata) by the air conditioner though is going crazy.

Stepping forward and looking to the right through the triangle pergola:

Taking a couple more steps toward the end of the driveway, still looking right:

Almost at the end of the driveway now after a few more steps, and the steps on this side of the Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis' are almost hidden by the Pleioblastus distichus bamboo:

I should probably prune that down a bit, as I don't want people stepping in strange, dangerous ways to avoid the plants.

Turning to the left, castor beans are over my head now:

Slightly more of a turn to the left lets us see the prairie beds and the veggie garden (where all of the poles are):

A bit more to the left and you can see how the pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is kind of taking over, but really filling the holes!

The turtle eggs are behind that monster. Notice the mushrooms in my woodchip pile -- beautiful!

Even the few potted plants and a 55-gallon drum that I'm not sure what to do with look good here:

The Datura inoxia just won't give up -- it really wants to grow in those driveway cracks!

This spider web made it tricky to go down into the backyard this morning:

So let's go back to the walkway next to the air conditioner...

Turning to the left and looking down a little:

Pennisetum 'Vertigo' adds some color, while my Plumeria has doubled in size and I think needs a bigger pot now. Yahoo!

Rotate a bit more to the left:

Keeping all of my small pots in that large pot (halfway hidden behind the scouring rush) was a great idea. Each of those plants can be pulled out and used as fillers in other beds as needed, although I suspect some of them have rooted into the soil beneath.

Keep turning to the left..

This area surpassed my hopes this year! The maypop vine is loving it here, blooming like crazy and perfuming the air at certain times of the day. The potted plants below are working quite well too this year.

So now I'll go up the deck stairs and look back...

And finally show you the few plants I have on the deck this year:

The pot on the left contains oregano (left blooming), Patchouli which is now dominating but smells so wonderful, and some rosemary that you probably can't see. The square pot contains curry plant, onions, and one 'Minnesota Midget' melon plant, with three more pots of the same melon next to it. I planted these sort of late, but they're really going crazy right now. This variety has a short maturing period and does well in containers, so we'll see what happens.

The other corner of the deck contains some 'Tigger' melon plants, but they don't look as photogenic as these do. Not sure if they'll have time to produce, but they're my only hope as deer have learned to jump my veggie garden fence and are regularly pruning the good parts off of the produce down there.

The 'Berries n Cream' mint is just wonderful here (maybe a slightly bigger pot next year), and the repurposed water jug (lower right corner) is looking great!

So that's a look at the back garden, nearest to the house. Lush is the right adjective, right?

How are things looking in your garden?


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (August 19, 2014 at 7:03 PM)  

Yes!! This is the kind of lushness I remember from previous years. I'm glad you finally had the necessary rain to make it happen.

I'm also glad to see that at least one of your plumerias has survived. I brought one home from Maui last year (bought as a stick in a plastic bag from a souvenir store) and it's doing well outside in the heat. I think as long as you give them plenty of heat and water, they're fine.

Lisa at Greenbow  – (August 19, 2014 at 7:12 PM)  

This has been the best summer ever here in my garden in SW IN. We must be in the same weather patterns because your garden looks like it is a tropical oasis it is so lush.

Rock rose  – (August 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM)  

Wow! I would never have known that this was St Louis. So incredibly lush and tropical looking. Rain can do that.

Alain  – (August 19, 2014 at 8:37 PM)  

It is very lush indeed! I love the datura volunteering in the cracks and glad you grow pokeweed. I also grow it, the flowers and berries are so attractive (moking birds like them very much).
Beautiful garden!

Lisa  – (August 19, 2014 at 8:44 PM)  

I was just wondering about your Minnesota Midgets today! We have 6 or 8 nice sized melons - just waiting for them to ripen. We had an early one, but it fell off the vine and never ripened.

Garden looks great - credit to you, but also Mother Nature!  – (August 19, 2014 at 10:21 PM)  

Beautifully lush! We are very dry and hot in the PNW as you know .

Hoover Boo  – (August 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM)  

Lush indeed. So that is what rain does! I wondered.

The pergola you built adds excellent height to the scene--good design work there.

danger garden  – (August 19, 2014 at 11:42 PM)  

I think it's unanimous...LUSH! Beautiful too, it looks a little like Portland in the spring (it's rather golden here now). Those castor beans, WOW.

Mark and Gaz  – (August 20, 2014 at 4:27 AM)  

It's a jungle out there Alan, very lush, and beautiful! Just shows the invigorating effects of rain when you have a good spell of it during the growing season. Your planting is great, coupled with the rain its looking even better.

The ricinus of yours is seriously impressive!

Alan  – (August 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM)  

Gerhard: it's the winters that are the scary time for plumeria survival, but I think I have that figured out now.

Lisa and Rock Rose: the funny thing is, if you asked me 8 years ago what type of garden I wanted, I would have said "not sure, but NOT tropical" :)

Alain: I actually thought I pulled almost all of the pokeweed out this spring! Glad I didn't though.

Lisa: Hope I have enough time for mine to produce fruit!

Linda: yes, hot indeed this year. I'll be remembering your dry heat fondly this weekend when it nears 100 here...

Gail: thanks! I assume you mean the one by the A/C unit? It's the newest, and really had such a huge visual impact!

Loree: Give the castor beans another month and they'll be over 10' tall. Not that I'm bragging, but these things amaze me every year. It's an ANNUAL!

Mark/Gaz: Fine praise indeed coming from you who have a jungle of your own! Castor beans really need heat I think -- you should see the big one!

Thanks all for the comments!

www.ravenscourtgardens. com  – (August 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM)  

Your garden looks great! Very lush here in Houston too. We have had lots of regular rain and everything is so full it is hard to believe it looked a waste land after winter. I have lots of bulbs and ferns and deciduous plants that rest when it is cold. They often suffer through the worst of summer but the cloud cover and late afternoon thunder showers have been a nice reprieve for them this year!

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (August 20, 2014 at 6:20 PM)  

Love your Datura plantings, they do not seem to be in any mood to give up...Great spider web.

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