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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #014
August 03, 2022
Are you enjoying your garden?

August Dog-Days...

"The first week of August

hangs at the very top of summer

... like the highest seat

of a Ferris wheel

when it pauses

in its turning."

Natalie Babbitt.

Hot - Hot - Hot

How do we stay cool??


Yes, Cucumbers

Did you know??

One 11-ounce (300-gram) unpeeled, raw cucumber contains the following (1):

Calories: 45 Total fat: 0 grams Carbs: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Fiber: 2 grams Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI Magnesium: 10% of the RDI Potassium: 13% of the RDI Manganese: 12% of the RDI

Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins, which prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Cucumbers are composed of about 96% water, which may increase hydration and help you meet your daily fluid needs.

Cucumbers are low in calories, high in water and can be used as a low-calorie topping for many dishes.

Might be why we say, 'cool as a cucumber"....

Water, Water, Water

Your plants are hot too…

and may not be as keen on cucumbers as you,

so they need you to water them….

unless you have a scree garden like Mary's.

She does not need to water this little bed full of

sedum and succulents

... gorgeous!


ROSES; deeply once a week rather than every day a bit

and hold your hose at soil level, aiming at the root not overhead

PERENNIALS; (new this year)

Water daily till they are established, or if still in pots,

keep in the shade and plant when cooler

ANNUALS: in pots, daily

in the ground… every other day…deeply at the roots

Clean Bird Baths


the bee dish needs clean water...

it seems the squirrel has been

washing his nuts in this one...


IF.. you use them on your perennials

stop the middle of August

and let your plants go to seed

as they get ready for dormancy.

The end of August is a great time to

add compost to your gardens

Sunflower Heroes

my sketch from a photo by Aaron Landsworth

The SUNFLOWER has many meanings in different countries and cultures: positivity and strength admiration and loyalty good luck and lasting happiness vitality and longevity

Sunflowers are drought tolerant with an extensive root system and are hyper-accumulators.

They have been planted in the fields surrounding Chernobyl pulling toxic materials and radiation from the affected soil into their tissues. (Phytoremediation)

Used also on floating rafts, roots dangling in the water, they clean up radioactive Chernobyl water pulling out both cesium 137 and strontium 90; then disposed of as radioactive waste.

In DETROIT, sunflowers planted in a lead-laced plot of land, reduced its concentration of lead by 43%,

- well below federal safety standards.

Costing $900,000 it was over $1 million dollars less than the cost of taking 5700 cu. yards of soil to a hazardous waste landfill.

(from an article by Molly Beauchemin | May 12, 2016)

"August is ripening grain in the fields...

(as) Vivid dahlias fling huge tousled blossoms

through gardens


Joe-pye-weed dusts the meadow purple."

Jean Hersey

...and other flowers are strutting their stuff

- like Coneflowers

The garden changes every month and now

it is showing its glorious colour

Not Just a weed...


a gorgeous blue, mineral-rich

forage herb

with a long taproot,

that penetrates tough dry soil

leaving it aerated, aiding drainage

and other crop root development.

Doesn’t like to be in a bouquet though

…would rather be in the ground.

I Love Roses...but you knew that

"John Davis" is one of my favourites:

a hardy climber

in the Canadian "Explorer" Series

But, this year,

the Japanese Beetles

also loved my roses...

Except John Davis,

or the KnockOut roses...

but the rest....


So you won't see man photos of them this time.

THESE BEETLES are not fun !

JAPANESE BEETLES (Popillia japonica)


at the Schulenberg Prairie restoration

at the Morton Arboretum,

Lisle, Illinois, USA.

These beetles (Popillia japonica) are in the family of the scarab beetle and is a bit iridescent.

In Japan it is controlled by natural predators, but in North America is a dreaded pest to almost 300 species of plants, including rose bushes, grapes, hops, canna, crape myrtles, birch trees, linden trees and even my apple trees.

My gorgeous ROSES have been decimated by these nasty nellies…

... and now that the roses are “done” the are attacking my apple trees and making lace of the foliage

- the little rascals only eat the flesh between a leaf's veins and sometimes, even the fruit.

They love hot sunny weather so this year they are very happy.

I take a bit more delight in doing this than I should but it works….

And I get to see my roses close-up as the larvae hide under petals…

I just flick the beetles off into a jar of soapy water.

(flush them down the toilet often because the jar begins to smell)


(Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

The adults eat milkweed leaves, buds, and flowers and sever

the leaf veins above where they feed to minimize their

exposure to the milkweed’s sticky latex because it can

decrease their consumption of latex by up to 92%.

Thing is, when this beetle gets latex on its mouth-parts,

it has to clean them immediately

by rubbing its face against the leaf;

otherwise, the latex will harden,

gluing its mouth shut.



In his 1957 paper, called

“Sound Production and Associated Behavior in Insects,”

Richard D. Alexander tells us they will purr

when standing motionless;

but when they are quietly going about the business of

crawling and feeding on milkweeds,

they may purr or squeak.


red milkweed beetle

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.

We are all children of chance,

and none can say why some fields will blossom

while others lay brown beneath the August sun.”

Kent Nerburn

My ROSES will bloom once more before the season ends,

but I help them along by deadheading...

If you leave them with dead blossoms,

they will begin to form rose hips

- a sign it is time for them to store sugars

for their dormancy..

so, deadhead for more blooms.


Thorn Reminder...


Here is a photo of my daughter’s large Agave plant.

As I watered it a couple of weeks ago,

the tip of the “leaf” has a sharp thorn

and pricked my finger…

or so I thought…

but it went into my fingernail.

...and a few weeks later

it looks like this.

The black dot is where

the thorn entered

and the white around

is most likely an infection.

It is sore.

I have soaked it often in hot salt water

to no avail

so will seek my doctor’s advice

this week.

The agave sap can also cause some issues

as agave dermatitis is a medical issue.

It’s called CICD or Chemical Irritant Contact Dermatitis”

… and happens when Oxalic Acid crystals become embedded in the skin….

A bit like the sap from Milkweed…

contact with the skin,

perspiration and sunlight

can cause a frightful rash….

wash your skin well with soap

as soon as possible….

"One thorn of experience

is worth

a whole wilderness

of warning."

James Russell Lowell

Moss Roses

Speaking of roses,

these are not actually roses,

but an easily forgotten little gem

that will give you much joy

all the hot summer days

that it loves so much…

It’s a flower, a weed or even a veggie

(not so much for me)

It loves the heat and even very dry conditions

and bless its little heart,

will bloom very energetically all summer…

how great is that?

Most plants open their leaf pores

so moisture escapes to cool the plant

and take in CO2 with sunlight (nutrients)

but if the soil is too dry,

those pores can let off more ‘steam’ faster

than their roots can take it in…

..and makes for a drooping plant

… or worse, dying plant.

However, Portulaca has this figured out

and closes its pores during the day

and opens them at night,

thereby losing only a little water

while taking in CO2

storing this till the next day….

The day dawns and the pores close up,

water is saved and CO2 released.

Pretty - and - magical.

Lee Reich has more information in the link below.



This past week brought some annoying and upsetting "crises"

… not world or earth shattering

except to a heart that feels a bit small right now

... but I don't want those annoyances to define me,

so I made a list of some things

that are heart-enlarging.

- the sound of Cicadas (reminds me of Provence and learning when they sing, the grapes are ready

- the smell of freshly cut grass

- the sound of a gas lawn mower reminds me of my Dad

- the sound of the breeze in the tree’s leaves above the lawn mower

- the city, as it quiets in early evening

- the sound of neighbourhood children laughing

- crickets

- floating clouds and knowing I can move them

- the stillness in the garden

- the sound of Poplar leaves “clicking” in the breeze - reminding me of cottage days

- human sounds; sweeping, chatting, and the clinking of dishes from a patio

- and my garden gives me joy

These are some things that take me

from the distressing

to the beautiful

...and there is so much.


We say 'so long' for now...

but remember this...

”Rest is not idleness,

and to lie sometimes on the grass

under trees on a summer's day,

listening to the murmur of the water,

or watching the clouds float across the sky,

is by no means a waste of time."

John Lubbock.

Lucy likes to rest in the shade

when its hot,

thinking about

her next snack.

Remembering Elvis...

Fans of Elvis Presley

mourn each Aug. 16th, the day he died in 1977.

Perhaps, instead of mourning,

play an oldie


remember some good times

… dancing on the dock,

- rocking into the night,

and singing at the top of your lungs….

it’s the joy we need to remember….

Just a reminder...

My book (and on-line course)

on roses is progressing

and there are a lot

of chapters on pruning.

.. if any of you have any questions,

issues or problems with your roses.

.. trouble understanding

something you have read,

tried or want to try.

Ask me.

.. if I don't know,

I will find out

... because likely others have the same questions,

issues or problems...

send me an email at

and thanks.

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