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RDG’s 2014 Summery Summary

Summer ended about a month ago. The weather was so pleasant this year in New England that we didn’t notice it the season changing until the autumnal colors started to appear. This was one of the most comfortable Boston Summers we have had in recent memory. It was also a great year for the RainyDayGarden. Almost all of the plants made it through the harsh Winter, a few additions were introduced to the gang, and there was hardly any weeding or maintenance work to do…much to the delight of the RainyDayInterns 🙂

However, as Fall is definitely upon us, we thought it was time to post a summary of how things went in the RainyDayGarden this Summer. Here is a recap of some of the more notable events in the RainyDayGarden for the Summer of 2014:


Water IS the key for a lush garden…especially in the city. Because it rained on and off in the early part of June, things really took off, all without us having to do any work. We took these few shots of the RainyDayGarden on June 5th…the Siberian Irises (pink blooms in the photo on the right) all started flowering that morning.

The other key to a “less work, more nap time ” garden is to have “more perennials, less grass.” Not only will there be less maintenance (cutting, weeding, etc), actual plants will attract more birds, bees, and other interesting creatures…even if the garden is in the heart of Boston.

On one of the sunnier days, while out trying to get shots of insects, we realized that there appeared to be a new hybrid in the RainyDayGarden. The yellow Day Lily with the ring of orange is new this year.

It appears to be a cross of the orange already in the garden and the larger all yellowones from a plant sale a few years back. The color of new hybrid is in between both the orange and the yellow and has the inner ring of the deeper orange. So we’ve got ourselves some new plants, either by the luck of the breeze or the work of the insects! Dr. Melani McAlister suggested we name it “RainyDayLily.” Perfect!

The window bird feeder has been very active this Spring. Frequent visitors were the sparrows, cardinals, and Blue Jays. We think there are two nests of cardinals somewhere in the RainyDayGarden. We hear their sharp distinctive clicking and chirping throughout the day.

We don’t often get  grackles at the bird feeder, but this one hung around long enough for the camera to get some pretty good shots. Interesting iridescent shimmers on the head and a pretty cool tail!


Thanks to Andrea and Gary Barsomian-Dietrich, three healthy clumps of canna unfurled their beautiful leaves in the RainyDayGarden this Summer.

The early light caught one of the leaves just right and highlighted the spirals. We got a few backlit shots before the sun moved…didn’t even see the shadow of that bug until we brought the images into the computer.

The thunderstorms in July were great for the garden, and the passiflora finally was spotted. When the vine had not appeared in late June in their usual spot, we thought they’d been lost because of the harsh Winter. We gave up on them and planted a few of the cannas in the places where they usually appear. The cannas really liked their spots and have been growing like crazy. Still, we had hoped we would see the familiar tri-lobe-shaped leaves pop up in the cluster of Siberian Irises and have kept an eye out for signs of the climbing tendrils. We noticed a few climbers with those distinctive leaves late in July! They were two months late, so there won’t still be enough time for them to mature and flower, but they are still around…Yay! By the way, if you don’t know what a Passiflora bloom looks like…here are some shots of the vine in September of 2011 and 2012.


Our friend Larry Murray was up from the Cape for an Aikido seminar one weekend and brought a new edition for the RainyDayGarden. It was a fig tree and is awesome! We brought the tree back to the garden in a convertible…quite the sight of this tree swaying in the passenger seat like a plant giraffe!

We named it “Sookie” after the character in Tru Blood because it smells so nice… Thank you Larry for the new member of the RainyDayGarden!!!


There was not much blooming in the RainyDayGarden late into the Summer. Of course, it didn’t help that there had not been much rain for most of September and early October. Still, there were a few plants (begoniahydrangeasedumChinese Dogwood pods) which provided a bit of color, but clearly not for very much longer!!!

One interesting observation regarding the Blue Jays we think worth sharing is that many have mastered the technique of flying into the window feeder, snatching a whole peanut, and flying off without making a sound. In fact, they have gotten so fast at it that many do not even trigger the motion sensor any more. We only know they have been by because all the peanuts have disappeared!

We have countered by placing the peanuts toward the inside of the feeder so they HAVE to step further in to pick them up. The trick worked and has resulted in some excellent shots of our blue feathered friends. We expect we will see a lot more of them in the coming days. We will, of course, be putting out plenty of feed now that the weather has turned. We want to do our part to help these chirpy guys make it through yet another New England Winter.

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