July garden

We are really enjoying the weather here in Washington. It is July 3 and I think we have had to turn on the a/c three times. The past few weeks have been especially nice with temperatures rarely getting above 75. The evenings are so cool that we put on our sweatpants and robes. We open the windows and let the cool breeze come through and it is wonderful. 

Even though the temperature is nice, everything cannot be perfect. Rainfall has been scarce (it typically is dry here from June - September). I have to water everything at least once per week, sometimes more often than that, and the containers have to be watered daily. I have been busy spreading a mountain of mulch that I received from the forestry service.

The front side bed is probably the driest place in the garden. A retaining wall holds it up so the drainage is excellent. I have not really added too much to this bed. It seems that every time I buy a plant, it ends up in the border around the deck in the back. I am trying to hold back and not plant too much this time of year.

I have been creating new beds by laying down cardboard and covering it with good soil. This are is along the back hedge. That is Cornus "Wolf's Eyes" to the left and I am not sure if the leaves are ever going to perk back up.

The front gate entrance. Notice the wire cage around the rose. We have a rabbit problem. They do not eat everything but there are a few favorite plants that they come back to again and again.

The Clematis 'Jackmanii' is doing really well.
The vegetable garden is also doing well - I think. The plants look healthy and are covered with blooms but so far, very little harvest.
The straw bales are working rather well - this is eggplant and zucchini.

The first tomato I planted came from a local man who grows organic vegetables. Lots of blooms but no fruit yet.
The first vegetable picked was this cucumber. It was picked yesterday and it was delicious!
On to the flowers - this is Hydrangea 'Preziosa' and it is my favorite at the moment.
The multi-colored leaves, a mix of burgundy and rust, are as pretty as the flowers.
Penstemon 'Ruby Candle' - a plant that does not mind the dry weather.
This is the first time I have ever grown
Queen of the Prairie
Filipendula rubra)
Rose 'Plum Perfect'
Rose 'Westerland'
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum')
The hummingbirds favorite - Cuphea 'David Verity' (Firecracker Plant)

We are enjoying our container plants on the deck.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I can imagine how you are having to hold back planting right now when you are used to planting up a storm at this time. We are getting some much needed rain today. It appears that your garden is coming right along. Learning the soil and light conditions are what you can be doing now. Of course it is always fun to dream about what you want where. Your pots look right at home on the patio where you can easily admire them.

  2. It's hot in Alabama Phillip! Glad you're both enjoying the weather. I'm sure those tomatoes will produce some nice fruit soon! I love the deck container colors! Good job!

  3. The summer so far has been nice and cool, I love it. Your vegetable garden is looking very nice. I hope you get the crops you are hoping for to encourage you to keep going: that first cucumber is a good sign. My leafy greens are just slug food... I'll try again next year.

  4. Philip.... your description of your weather is almost as if you are describing the weather here.... every once in a while we've been getting up to three days of air conditioning weather, but for the most part it's been very pleasant and the house is left open to the breezes.... then too we've been experiencing some dry weather in July for about three years.... I've begun watering as well... love your veg gardens and it must also be very exciting to grow ornamentals that perhaps were unavailble to you previously because of the conditions regarding weather and soil in your former gardens...

  5. Congrats on the cuke :)

    Queen of the Prairie sure is a stunner!

  6. Great pictures. It must be nice to only use the AC on occasion. Here in S. Florida, the AC runs non stop this time of year.

    1. It is!! It is wonderful. We have only have one day above 80 since July 4th.

  7. You've come a long way already Phillip! I didn't realize that the summers were dry there, but the cool weather doesn't surprise me. How pleasant that must be for you! Did you ever grow veggies before? I don't recall that you did.

    1. Robin, I did not have a vegetable garden previously with the exception of one at my mother's house. That was 20 miles away so you can imagine I did not have much success with it. This is the first serious one I've had.


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