The Dog Days of Summer

Whew, well we’re in it well and good now. Technically the phrase ‘dog days of summer’ refers more to the rising of the Dog star but it also coincides with some of the hottest days of the year in July and August. A quick look at AccuWeather indicates it’s going to be hot and dry well into August.  Oh joy.

I spent this last weekend traversing open gardens in the heat. Saturday it was The Garden Conservency/HPSO Open Days in north and northeast Portland. Sunday was Clark County’s annual Green Neighbors Natural Gardens Tour. A friend and I worked as greeters the first half of the day at one garden then split up to take in what we could of other gardens.  Thankfully, the last garden I visited (the Heldreth Garden) was blissfully shady and even had a misting system going. It was late afternoon and the temperature was 96 degrees at least. The layers of green plantings spiked with white flowering plants was very soothing. Here are just a few photos.



Cool misty oasis on a hot summer day






As for my garden…this weather is the test to see how my new plantings from last year hold up. Last year I decided to forego the mostly foliage/Asian style garden and go with pollinators and more drought hardy plants.  I planted several Salvia ‘Caradonna’, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, Phlomas fruticosa, Mexican Feather Grass and other grasses.  I kept the Hydrangea ‘Limelight,’ I had also planted a couple of California Wax Myrtles to train up a fence and they are doing wonderfully so it all seems to be very successful. None of the plants have been lost, in fact I shall soon have to edit some plants out.

In early June, after returning from California, I planted some Globe Mallows from Xera which are doing extremely well. I also bought some horned poppies at Garden Fever (from Annie’s Annuals) and they are having a grand time in the heat. Their orange petals go beautifully with the ‘Electric Blue’ Penstemon. The lighting in the photos below do not show the vividness of the colors.

Horned Poppy


Electric Blue Penstemon

Earlier I had scattered seed of California poppy, Baby-Blue-Eyes (Nemophilia), and Blue Gilia. These have done well in boarders and on a slope adding a cheerful look. The Baby-Blue-Eyes finished off two weeks ago but the poppies and Gilia are still going strong.  Looking at them all one morning it occurred to me that I had my own Fiestaware theme going in the garden. Those who collect Fiestaware will know what I mean.

The poppies are always closed in the morning before I leave for work and are again closed when I return. This morning I witnessed some fuzzy bees trying to force their way into the closed poppy petals in search of pollen. They finally gave up and moved on to the hardy geraniums.


The Limelight hydrangea is just now beginning to blossom along with several Conca d’Or lilies and the Regale lilies are just finishing up.


Limelight Hydrangea hedge with Japanese Forest Grass ‘Aureola’


Limelight Hydrangea, Conca d’Or lily, and Nicotiana
Regale Lily 


Star jasmine


Oceanspray just finishing up after being in bloom all June

In spring I picked up a ‘Samantha’ Campanula to give it a try. I’m pleased it is doing so well and is a workhorse similar to Geranium ‘Rozanne.’


Campanula ‘Samantha’


Geranium ‘Rozanne’


Oak Leaf Hydrangea with Delta Sarah hardy fuchsia at bottom left

Here are some Goldenrod plants I put in my ‘experiment’ bed. They are doing very well and I’ll move them in the fall to the slope.



I inherited lots of these common day lilies from the previous owner. I used to chuck them out but now I quite like the salmon orange color and have decided to keep some.


Common  day lily

Finally,  here is a sweet ground cover: Modiolastrum lateritium (malvaceae family) is something I’ve grown for decades now. I first purchased it in Berkeley. I saw it just once for sale at Portland Nursery around 1995 then never again. The plant is originally from South America (Brazil, Argentina). It grows best in full sun, in gravel or well draining soil and spreads by trailing stems. The leaves are maple-like though you cannot see them in the photo. The leaves showing are from a Zauchneria that is mixed in with the Modiolastrum.


Modiolastrum lateritium 


That’s all for now. I hope you are all staying cool in the heat and not working too hard in your gardens.  Here is one last shot taken early this morning.



6 thoughts on “The Dog Days of Summer

  1. Hi, Aly: I enjoyed you pictures, your gardens look lovely. I stopped at Annie’s Annuals and Perennials with my friend, Brenda, and daughters Mary and Karen. Always have to buy at least several plants when stopping by. Her gardens and plants for sale are always amazing. We are also getting a lot of heat here in Pleasant Hill.

    Liked by 1 person

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