early summer: poppies, pods, and pink paws

ICOMPLAIN A LOT IN JUNE, I KNOW, and there are a few more days left of what is in my garden the in-between month. It’s the month of pulling spent spring things out and cutting others back; of swapping out pots and impatiently waiting for the new things to fill in; of wanting all the Hydrangea paniculata to come into their own–of just plain being cranky. “But there’s always something to see, silly girl,” the wildest spider ever (above) crawled over and whispered to me a day or two ago. “Open your eyes, Margaret, and look around.” Care to come along for a little slideshow of what I found?

Click on the first thumbnail to start the slideshow, then toggle from image to image using the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Meemsnyc: As the caption mentions, baneberry is DEFINITELY poisonous!!!!! Beautiful but not for anything but show.

  1. ayo says:

    The “spider in poppy” photo is so beautiful–how did you ever get your model to pose so perfectly upon the dark pink? I am going to have to try to paint this! Just gorgeous.

  2. Claire says:

    Wonderful photography, Margaret. Please do let us know what that weed is, if you can. I have one growing up through the exact middle of an Indian Hawthorne.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, P. Lotvin. Yes, I kept saying to myself, “I think I have seen this before,” but you have to admire such a lusty thing. :) I will wait till it flowers to see if it’s what you think, or a lookalike…as on this Virginia Tech page with photos. The fascination of nature, right? See you soon again, I hope.

  3. terryk says:

    so many nice things going on in your garden! Pots filled with gold foliage plants look great but those pink paws and that cute little sleeping face steal the show!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Margaret: love your pictures especially on my iPad…..Jack the demon is so handsome, we also await the summer color.ps: the chipmunks have grown tired of our stewartia,we took your advice. And relaxed, realizing they had to eat too!

  5. kate says:

    Martha, thank you for the stroll through your garden! Can’t wait to see it in person during Copake Day at the end of August!!!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Kate. Funny, like so many people (even years later now) you called me Martha. Sweet! Nice to hear from you and looking forward to a proper hello in August.

  6. Lynn says:

    Lovely and you’re so right to appreciate all the in-between. I encountered bottlebrush buckeye for the first time last weekend at Longwood Gardens. THAT is an impressive species! Hooray for more salad seedlings, too.

  7. Karen says:

    Love the bottlebrush buckeye. We planted a small one this spring and, after seeing your photos, all I can say is “Wow, hope ours does half as well”

  8. Michele in Salem says:

    Love, love, love your photos Margaret… Interestingly, I just pulled a very similar vine off of some ladies mantle that you found on your rhodie. I guess I’m not as patient as you are… Let me know if I’ve missed anything!

  9. Jayne says:

    Reading your posts is like having the BEST neighbor live right next door. But this way you have no one peering over the “garden fence.” Thank you for that slide show! Your crazy vine looks like my bottle gourd, at the moment. I have planted it in the totally wrong place – a mere obelisk will not hold it. Yours looks to be traveling to California or CHina as well!

  10. Cathy in Seattle says:

    Hello all, Margaret, that vine looks faintly like a wild native cucurbit vine illustrated in an older book I have.
    I have a question – I’ve been growing Brugmansias for almost 15 years and have yet to get one to overwinter. I’ve decided to simply baby them in my greenhouse from October to July, if necessary, and making sure they get plenty of fertilizer. What size pot do you overwinter yours in? Also, can you recommend a good fertilizer? I’m using manure tea and (ack!) Schultz’s blue granular mixed with water.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Cathy. Mine is quickly outgrowing a pot that’s about two feet across and quite tall. Very large…but I need to go larger and haven’t figure that out yet…looking for the next lightweight but giant vessel. :) I don’t like chemical fertilizers, and I am seeing more all-natural organic formulas in the nursery these days so ask at your local place what they can offer. I would not feed in the offseason — promotes weak growth because of the shorter/lower light in winter days — so let it rest, no? You can read about my regimen for the Brugmansia storage here.

  11. Susan Gerard says:


    Next year (always next year…) I am going to garden alongside of you here in PA. My flat of hellbores arrived last week and I am now making their beds, having found that they prefer their shade more open than I’ve given most of them so far. Should I transplant the ones along my wooded paths?

    You are such an inspiration. Your slide shows are lovely. Your photographic eye unerring.

    But your patio… *sigh*

    Thank you again for this blog.

    Susan in PA

  12. Susan Gerard says:

    P.S. One year I had a “lusty” volunteer that looked like it would give me a gourd or two.
    I should have torched it right then and there, as it has become terribly invasive in just four years. jmho… usually I welcome (with open arms) all volunteers. I even love the big thistles, the goldenrod, the milkweed, teasle, and the queen anne’s lace. But this thing is a smotherer and a monster. Too bad I could not tell the difference the first year (I stupidly let it seed… waiting for those gourds, remember…)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Susan, and thanks for all the kind words. Sweet of you. Yes, I think you are right; the hellebores like a little light — or at least in the North they do, and so I put them under deciduous trees but where there is bright shade mostly. Glad to “meet” you and do come again soon and day hello.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Shannon; yes, I ID him (her?) in the caption on the slideshow photo; wonderful spider, right? Fascinating to no end, and I actually love spiders in general. See you soon again, I hope.

  13. Absolutely delightful!! Especially love the pink paws!! Also, I am so glad to know that I’m not the only one who just doesn’t have the heart to pull a “weed” when it crops up, such as the vine in your rhodies. I always find nature so beautiful that it breaks my heart to pull anything out of the ground…admittedly, my garden could be much tidier…but far less interesting if I did.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thanks, Jeanne, and nice to see you. I do pull a LOT of weeds, so I will have to go look and see what was in that old photo climbing up a rhodie. :)

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