Lilies of the Morning

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THE FALL BULB CATALOGUES have started to arrive, and with them a certain annoyance, as in ‘Who wants to think about summer ending already?’ Still, they are seductive, and paging through them is a pleasant way to spend a July evening.

Sadly, John Scheepers list of deer-proof naturalizers (bulbs that spread year after year) is short, consisting mostly of small early bulbs like snowdrops (of which I have plenty, thanks to some long-ago gardener) and Siberian squill. Anyway, my experience hasn’t borne out their suggestions. My deer did gobble up the muscari (grape hyacinths) and the Spanish bluebell foliage.

But waking up to a few new Turk’s Cap lilies, top, as I did yesterday, makes up for a lot. These are by my front door, and I have kept a spritz bottle of Deer-Out handy these past two weeks,  practically spraying each bud individually to insure their safe passage into bloom.

I’ll probably order some more bulbs. Alliums, surely, and a few other things I have circled…because hope springs eternal.

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Above, a new hanging basket: ‘Saturn’ coleus, Lysimachia ‘Outback Sunset,’ and, in back, some purple-leaved wandering Jew.

Wet Week in Brooklyn

MAY SHOWERS, May flowers…

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Clematis most fabulous

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Anyone know what that pink explosion is, above?

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Stoop sitting

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Towering alliums

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where I’ve been twice this week

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The Rose Arc Pool

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Bluebell Wood

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A venerable paper birch

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Contemplating an azalea in the BBG

Raking Leaves is a A Fool’s Errand

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THAT PHRASE POPPED INTO MY HEAD TODAY as I raked leaves. It’s an impossible task, because every night’s breezes bring a fresh layer. Yesterday I observed my next-door neighbor raking, raking, raking, making huge piles for the town pick-up. Today, I glanced into his yard and saw that they’d been replenished. But I happen to know he rakes for fun, so it’s OK.

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Daffodil bulbs ready to go in the ground at Bridge Gardens

Besides raking, I’ve been busy with other fall landscaping chores, inspired partly by a two-hour workshop I attended on Saturday at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton called “Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter.” At least half the discussion was about which hydrangeas bloom on old wood and which on new. I can’t have hydrangeas at all because of my deer friends, so I tuned out.

Below, transplanting clumps of hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ at Bridge Gardens
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I was reminded of how important it is to keep watering, especially after such a dry season as we’ve had. I’ve been moving hoses around from individual tree to tree so they get soaked in the root zone (particularly some of the big evergreens that look parched), pulling up spent annuals, planting three new aronia (chokeberries) as part of my ‘tapestry hedge’ in front, and moving other things from places where they’re not thriving to places where I hope they will.

Below, annual Japanese fountain grass, perennial geranium ‘Roxanne,’ and Saturday students at Bridge Gardens

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Just as I was coming to the end of today’s to-do list, the UPS truck pulled up with my bulb order from Scheeper’s. It’s not a big order — just 10 ‘Gladiator’ alliums, 10 gorgeous lilies I couldn’t resist, even though they need sun and deer like them (I’m going to plant them by the front deck and keep a spritz bottle of Deer-Off handy), and 100 Spanish bluebells for a wooded area in the backyard middle distance that I haven’t gotten around to doing anything with.

How Bridge Gardens deals with deer, below

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I’m feeling a bit of urgency, as I’m moving into my Brooklyn pied-a-terre next Monday. I won’t be around much in November, and I want to leave my East Hampton place in good shape — well-watered, nicely mulched, cozily tucked in for winter.

One of several unusual types of elephant ear at Bridge Gardens, below

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