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RDG Summer 2018 Summary

Now that Fall is here, we thought we would take a look back on the RainyDayGarden’s Summer and note the things we expected and a few that we didn’t.


The Spring-to-Summer conversion started out rainy. While not convenient for top-down driving with the Boxster, it was great for all the plants in the RainyDayGarden.

Everything got really lush and green, even with our rule not watering unless absolutely necessary (the other is to never use pesticides or weed killers).

The RainyDayGarden got a lot of “watering” all through June and the plants responded by being extra green. Especially appreciative were the day lilies.

Right behind the day lilies is the Spirea, a favorite of the bumblebees. Bees love Spirea, and are a lot easier to photograph when loaded down with pollen.

We normally put out bird food, but at this time of the year there is plenty of food, even though some of our avian friends were a little cross (because they had gotten lazy). We came to an agreement with the Blue Jays: we put out some feed early in the morning and in return they entertain us while we enjoy our coffee.

The Blue Jays didn’t seem to mind; we realized that we could skip a day or two each week and they would clean up the fallen seeds so they wouldn’t germinate. We love our junior natural garden helpers!


RainyDayGarden used to have a lot of different types of lilies, but infestations of Japanese Lily Beetle for several years in a row had taken a severe toll on them.

This single orange lily (a true lily, not the day lilies) is the only survivor to escape the voracious appetite of those pests. Maybe this variety is resistant…wouldn’t that be cool??? The red/orange lily didn’t last long, but we got in a few macro shots before it faded.

The start of July was a warm one and the cabbage butterflies were out in force in the mornings. One was kind enough to stay still for a photo session. We found them to be much easier to photograph than bumblebees

We also spent some time dialing in on the settings for some RainyDayGarden “action shots.” Why? Because watching the grass grow really is as boring as they say.

While shots of sparrows in flight are less dramatic, their fly-bys are also more frequent. Since practice was the goal, they were a better option than waiting for the blue jays.

Our intern, Milo, was not impressed.

A few hot days in July were all that was needed to get the cone flowers to open up. This patch was started maybe 10 or 12 years ago. The cones would go to seed, and then the finches perch on the flower and gobble them up.

Whatever is left after the finches finish gets tossed back into the patch. After a few years, the patch filled up and now we have this nice self-maintaining cluster in the RainyDayGarden that blooms every July.

Hostas are amazing and versatile plants that thrives in the shade. They are easy to propagate (just split and plant), have interesting leaf patterns, and lots of flowers in July… and are very popular with the mason bees. What’s not to love??? No wonder they are all around the RainyDayGarden!!!

We planted the ferns and cannas together because their leaves are so different and I liked the contrast.

The one downside with cannas is we have to dig them up every year. It is the ONLY plant that breaks the “no work” rule for being in the RainyDayGarden

Mason bees are 10x more productive at pollinating than the typical honey bees. They also don’t live in a hive. To encourage them to hang around the RainyDayGarden, I’ve been trying to provide readily available “housing” close to where they “work.”

This is unit was provided by Gardener’s Supply Company. It looks great and has a variety of spaces for all kinds of garden insects (mason bees, butterflies, lady bugs, etc). However, it has been a few seasons and I have not had any takers as of yet… any thoughts?

Not everything in the RainyDayGarden were purposely planted. Some “arrived” and were allowed to stayed because they were persistent… and interesting.

While there is always something flowering in the RainyDayGarden, there is a small 2-week window when the day lilies, cone flowers, and the Black-Eye Susans overlap. It is one of our favorite time to sit and look out the window.


We don’t remember planting this Asiatic Lily, but we are happy that it decided to make its presence known nonetheless. Guess we should learn how to take care of it now that it has joined the RainyDayGarden!!!

The first figs of the season were harvested at the beginning of August! While many of the figs were still green, one was ripe enough to be picked. OK, it was barely ripe enough, but still delicious…most of it anyway.

A friend of the RainyDayGarden had asked us to “hold” a small hydrangea bush for her some 20+ years ago when she was moving apartments. We planted it in the RainyDayGarden so I wouldn’t forget to water it. Pretty sure she has forgotten about it…I also might have neglected to remind her Anyway, it has grown a bit since!!!

This hydrangea flowers in mid-Summer with clumps that are not as full as other varieties, but still quite showy when it is in full-bloom mode, which should be in a week or so.

Every so often, we stumble upon a bumblebee that is willing to sit VERY still for a photo shoot. Maybe it’s the weather, the time of day, or that it hasn’t had its coffee yet.

Whatever the reason, we just shoot, because the end of Summer is now upon us and soon these guys will disappear until next Spring.

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