Saturday, June 24, 2017

Green Witch's Report: Midsummer, or St. John's Feast Day

My Sloggers runneth over on this traditional Midsummer Day, also known as St. John's Day.  Although late at night on the 20th (at least in my part of this big world) officially ushered in the Summer Solstice, today is the traditional day of Midsummer celebrations and St. John's Feast Day.  So I thought it fitting on this stormy day that this little green witch don her rain jacket, grab her camera, and head to the gardens.  You will not see any pictures this time, though, of the critters that inhabit my gardens, as they have wisely sought drier places, of which I have no clue. Good for them.  Stay dry, little friends.

The thyme is going crazy, the English thyme in particular (look at the little lake in front of it!).  The picture you see here is only half of the patch out in my rose garden.  Oh.  My poor roses.  Of 15 varieties, most of which were antique, only four survive.  I don't know what happened...but I believe it had to do with the trees around us, growing and growing, not allowing them the right light, whereas the middle part of the garden struggles in the constant, searing sun.  So one at a time, little by little, most of them died.  It's interesting how a garden changes with time.  The lemon thyme out front (see below) is clearly happy, and brushing my hand over its wet foliage leaves a fresh, lemony-thyme scent on my fingers.  That would make a nice lemon thyme bread....hmmmm...It may be the perfect day for baking...

Oh, my.  My rain barrel also runneth over...

And my gutters...

Speaking of roses, it's time to prune my White Lady Banks climber.  See those canes jutting out!  I have to prune this prodigious grower all throughout summer and autumn, else it will literally grow over my tiny house!  Truly, I speak no falsehood here!  There is no pruning until after it blooms its one time of the year in the spring.  Only one time, you exclaim!  Yes, but it's worth it, the tiny lemony-fragrant white blossoms covering the plant, which, after it blooms, serves as a nice bower on one side of my front porch, my comfy chair snuggled back in the corner next to it.  I like to take refuge there with a nice glass of white wine and just observe my gardens.

The gold lantana is abundant right now (see below on the right)...and laden with sodden flowers from this rain.  When it is dry, it stands up beautifully.  In the late winter, after it has long gone into its dormancy, I having left its dead leaves and stems for the wildlife to use as they will, I merely break the stems off at ground level and rake away the dead leaves to allow the new spring growth to enter the scene.  No need to use shears for this woody plant.

Other yellow blooms coming on the scene are those from my tansy (on the left, below), which is growing like crazy (I don't use the expression "growing like a weed," as there are no such things as weeds).  Tansy was called "bitter buttons" by the early Colonials and was said to alleviate arthritis. My tansy is juuuuuust beginning to yield its buttons, which will be dried and used in my autumn wreath.

Other golden flowers beginning to bloom are my black-eyed susans, some of which have self-sown on the other side of the garden, only they are a variegated version better able to handle the strong sun over there.  Plants adapt.  My!  It looks as though I took that picture at night, with the darkened skies and the shadow of the Three Sisters...

The last of the yellow blooms is the Mexican mint marigold, which has yet to bloom.  In my last report the center of the plant looked as though there were offspring all around it.  Now it is all one and will yield tiny, unassuming but VERY sweet-smelling flowers...also great for drying and adding to my autumn wreath.

Pink flowers are present, too.  Here are the pink salvia in my butterfly garden and the Mexican oregano in the front gardens, both beloved by the hummingbirds which visit to imbibe.

And there are white blooms, too.  A small crepe myrtle tree in the rose garden is bursting with buds that will hang beautifully above my Marian statue, surrounded by semi-precious stones and shells.
The crepe myrtles are especially beautiful this year.  The vine to the right is my Sweet Autumn Clematis which will bloom in September tiny white bursts of fluff with interesting seedheads.

Last is my plant which I have a love/dislike for, the blue mist plant...dislike because it is soooooo invasive, requiring me to constantly pull it up as it encroaches on my other plants' territory which, if not controlled, would choke them out and take over the entire garden!  Little tyrant.  I love it and grow it, though, because it is a wonderful oasis for migrating monarch butterflies in late summer, early autumn.  When those travelers visit my blue mist patch, it is truly magick and well worth the constant battle.  An understated little blue flower which must be heaven for butterfly-sipping.  See the one tiny bloom?  Soon it will be covered with them.  Ah.  The promise of a garden...

It's a New Moon on this special day...propitious for resting and planning new ventures!

Why not enjoy this St. John's Day, Midsummer Day, rain or shine, and find the time to relax and meander in a garden?  You'll be richer for it.  Yes, you will.

© 2017 Nancy Duncan


  1. ... the rains, humidity and high temps have made our garden so lush & green, alas the weeds are enjoying the summer as well :)

  2. Makes you wonder if there can be too much of a good thing, lol! But really, for us, this rain is quite miraculous...almost four inches SUMMER! :) Out for a walk now...and then into the garden...

  3. Thank you for the tour of your garden! Sooo green and lovely! I love Lantana and I wish it would live over the winter here in RI. I have a tiny yard in this downsized home and have not done anything with the backyard this year. My herbs did not like the little bed they had in the back yard so I pulled everything out last year -- now that patch is filled with mint (the roots stayed) and morning glories (the seeds from a pot next to the little bed). I am going to sort things out and see what to do next. I am not going to much in the back yard this summer because my husband is putting in a new fence! (we need it) In the front yard, my black eyed susans jumped across the sidewalk from one bed to the next and both beds are now just a lush bunch of perennials that I love! Lots of green, then different flowers blooming from spring to fall. Thanks for sharing you beautiful yard/garden. Very inspiring!

  4. Glad you could drop by, Vicki Jo! Gardens, especially new ones, take time, don't they! Your front gardens sound beautiful! I've been a gardener for over 35 all began with pots of herbs. Lots and LOTS of pots with herbs! In fact, I was growing them long before they became chi-chi. ;) I've probably grown more than 70 varieties, experimenting with them all along. Before I put in my large beds, though, I would bring in all the pots when the winters got too cold. Wears me out just thinking about it now, lol! Now, I don't have many pots at all...I prefer perennials, in the ground, like yours. They just grow more and more beautiful with each passing year, and I don't have to spend all that money on plants that will only die at the end of the season.