A light rain came Friday afternoon and on Saturday, yesterday, I awoke to find the garden refreshed by another rain overnight. With coffee and lifted spirits I welcomed the summer solstice from the back porch overlooking the garden. Lots of mist rose in the air along with bird chatter as cardinals, house finches, mockingbirds and gold finches crossed the yard between feeders and flowers.
Today is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. Inspired by yesterday’s early morning observations I decided to focus on foliage in neighboring borrowed views.
Still heavy from rain the neighbor’s weeping willow dipped its branches low toward the ground. Inside the fence a red cardinal sat atop the feeder in front of a large spirea. The spirea branches were flattened outward by the rain, but have since recovered.
At the northwest corner the blue color of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress stood out from its surroundings. This tree was planted last year to replace one that had died and it already has grown quite a bit. In front of the evergreen is Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry), a native that was planted long ago. It had never gotten very big and I had forgotten about it until last year when that dead juniper was removed. Once the beautyberry finally had sunlight and space it started growing, but by then the replacement tree had been planted.
To the right is a Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) that was complaining this week about the extreme dry spell, but it looked a bit perkier after the rain. There have been lots of storms this week all around us but the rain seems to pass us by. With no more rain in the forecast for a while the dogwood will soon be drooping again.
Back in the neighboring yard a Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) leans slightly southward trying to escape the not very desirable, but aggressive growers, sweet gums and pines. Last year the leaves on the sycamore were brown nearly all summer from a fungus. So far, so good this year.
One of the pines is missing its top, having crashed down into my garden in a storm several years ago and just barely missing the fence. I would have preferred it to be removed after that incident. I used to live around a lot of loblolly pine trees and can attest that, in this type of setting, all this kind of tree is good for is to drop cones and needles, coat every surface in spring with yellow pollen and eventually fall on cars and houses.
A narrow strip of common area, or community-owned property, runs down behind this set of houses. Once past the next-door-neighbor’s magnolia and bench this common area is mostly open grass until it meets the rows of trees in the distance and a creek.
The green hardwoods visible in the distance are on land owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers. That area creates a nice natural setting for wildlife and serves as a nice buffer behind our community.
If I move the camera just a bit it is easy to include grills, electrical meters, heating and air conditioning units and other ordinary symbols of civilization that too often muddle the images. But on the morning of the June solstice, I was able to focus on the greens of the trees and the misty blue gray sky.
Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides and see how she and other participants are using foliage in their gardens.