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We are officially in the Dog Days of Summer, those hot days from July to August, and The Farm is feeling it. The heat and sun-filled days make the gardens and flowers burst with growth and fruit. As you may have read, the cherries have come to an end after an extremely bountiful season. This time of year, it seems that when one thing ends, two fill the space.
Green beans are being picked and canned to enjoy throughout the fall and winter seasons. Apricots are ripening, raising my excitement to making apricot butter (a jam-like topping made only with equal parts fruit and sugar).
Produce from the garden has become a steady stream: cabbage, peppers, lettuce, herbs, and zucchini have all been in harvest.
Zucchini is great to use for cooking and baking! I can’t wait to share some scrumptious baked good recipes with you in the coming weeks!
The tomatoes are starting to grow their fruit and I am so excited to use them to make fresh tomato salads, can salsa (one of my favorites), and layer on top of summer sandwiches.
Flowers are in full bloom. I work and strive to have many different varieties of flowers throughout the flowerbeds so something is blooming at all times, a trait my mother instilled in me. After years of planting different varieties, your beds too will be bursting with color and fresh flowers throughout spring, summer, and fall.
For the last few weeks, I have been trimming all the bushes around the yards: boxwood, viburnum, spruces, ewes, spirea, lilacs, and bird nest bushes. You may think that sounds like a lot of work, but for bushes to stay the desired size and to look young and well-kept, annual (sometimes more) trimmings are important. Trimming is healthy for all plants because it allows them to fill in fully. Once a bush reaches the desired size and shape I want, I make sure to trim to that stage every time and keep it at that point.
I am getting a great variety of daylilies around the farm. Daylilies are ideal because of their effortless care. Known for their yellow flowers, you may be used to seeing the common Stella de Oro daylilies. There are hundreds of varieties with large blooms and striking colors and I am always on the hunt for a new and interesting one!
This week, I also trimmed some of the larger trees around The Farm and planted a few new ones. Trees add so much to a property. Since they take time to grow, it is always important to invest in trees when you can so you may enjoy their shade and visual interest as time passes. I planted sugar maples, known for their striking fall color. They are common in this area so they will fit well into the landscape.
On the horizon is mulching the flower beds with fresh cedar and Cyprus mulch. This not only looks wonderful but also keeps the weeds and bugs at bay. Personally, I prefer wood mulch to rock or other landscape choices. Why? Because mulch tends to look more organic and natural in a space!
The pea gravel patio is finally almost finished. The ornamental grasses and boxwood hedge are growing nicely and make the patio feel much more cozy.
I was able to hold a couple fire-pit evenings on the patio before the Dog Days hit and cannot wait for more to come!