The Garden in Midsummer

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The Garden in Midsummer

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru, Newsworthy

It’s hard to believe that the summer solstice will be upon us next week!  The phenomenal long days of midsummer are a delight to us in northern climates and the weather has been simply spectacular.  The gardens are verdant green and productive in both beauty and produce.  Here’s a view of some of Powell Garden’s midsummer delights.

Shade trees cloaked in foliage are the prime player in the midsummer landscape as they cool us from the sun’s most intense rays at this season.  This image is from along the Dogwood Walk, just before its hairpin curve to the Island Garden.  The huge double oak on the left is a Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria and actually the largest one on the site) while the tree on the right is a Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor).  Swamp White Oaks are the trees that shade the new 9-11 Memorial at the Twin Towers site in New York. Both these trees are native, original trees to Powell Gardens and make fine shade trees for gardeners.  Note the giant honeycomb which is the Light Wings fairy house.

I just submitted this image to show our renown Magnolia Collection during the American Public Gardens National meeting in Columbus, Ohio next week.  It shows the Southern Magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) and Sweetbay Magnolias (M. virginiana) that grace the Visitor Center.  The Southern Magnolias are blooming now with their huge, fragrant white “classic” magnolia flowers.

Here’s a photo of the ‘Poconos’ Southern Magnolia — a very hardy selection found growing successfully in the Poconos region of eastern Pennsylvania.  Our plant is on the southeast corner of the Visitor Center and can be seen from terraces as well as from the Dogwood Walk below.

The Perennial Garden is really starting to billow with the color of daylilies and other perennials set amid ornamental grasses and a framework of shrubs and trees.  Her Queen-of-the-Prairie (center left Filipendula rubra) blooms with pink cotton candy-like flowers on 5 foot stems! To its right is a pink-flowering daylily while mid right is the billowing airy new seedheads of ‘Wind Dancer’ grass (Eragrostis elliotii).

The Rock and Waterfall Garden is a shady respite during a summertime visit to Powell Gardens.  This year there is an unprecedented display of hydrangeas thanks to the mild winter and frost-free spring that otherwise damages the spring buds of the Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) cultivars.
The Island Garden is a wealth of exuberant colorful flowers and unique textures.  The waterlilies are already in bloom!  Note the fort Skeleton Island in the background.
Watch for our attention grabbing male Red-winged Blackbird (aka “Fabio”) as he bathes in the spring pool and preens afterwards atop the boulders seeming to egg on visitors to photograph him.  Now that it is the breeding season he shows off his brilliant red shoulder epaulets.
The Conifer Garden on the north end of the Visitor Center is a fine example of the use of plants for their colorful and unique FOLIAGE textures.
The wheat was harvested in the Heartland Harvest Garden so come visit to learn about the process of how it becomes bread!  Gardener Bob Glinn cut the wheat with an old fashioned scythe.
And the peaches continue to ripen so check reFresh snack shop in the barn for any that may be for sale.  I bought a delicious bag of ‘Early White Giant’ from the garden yesterday and I’m sure glad I ate the first one over my kitchen sink.
So come explore the beauty and bounty of the midsummer gardens of Powell Gardens.  Don’t forget to explore the Fairy Houses and Forts, and spend the whole day strolling through the scenery from the Perennial Garden to the Heartland Harvest Garden.  It will be an enchanting adventure.