Summer has arrived at Chez Rea! That is to say that the garden has hit its stride. (That is not to say that the garden is finished and all planting is done. That NEVER happens around here, as my husband would be quick to point out!) Finally, the main planting and set up is done, so now I actually get to enjoy the garden either by myself or with guests. Sure, I still have to maintain it–there’s always watering, harvesting, weeding, and even more planting to do–but the work is not as intense as it was in spring. Now the work is interspersed with relaxing mornings and an occasional firelit evening on the deck, plus the fun of cooking and entertaining with goodies from the garden.
When summer officially began on June 21, I was still working like crazy to get my garden to this point. I spent the first day of summer weeding the front yard as thoroughly as I could, and it came out pretty enough for a picture.
Flower Bestrewn Deck and other Containers
I had started planting containers a month before, so by June 21 I already achieved my annual goal of a “flower bestrewn deck.” That’s always my goal because I don’t have any garden beds planted within view of the deck yet. With all my containers, the deck itself becomes a garden, a delightful place to sit and relax among the flowers. Remember how that deck looked in the spring? Here it is in July!
4th of July Summer Kick Off
It was my goal to get the deck, gardens, and house all looking as good as possible by the 4th of July for our big family party (a party that has grown bigger over the last few years as more distant family members and a few friends have joined us). It was also time to put away spring decorations and bring out summer ones–at least the red, white, and blue phase. (Later in the summer I will use lemon yellow and tomato red). This annual party kicks off the summer entertaining season for us.
The day before the party, I picked loads of hydrangeas to make centerpieces for the party–because “cut flowers are so nice!” How convenient that I have so many white flowers blooming in time for this holiday every year! I picked them from the back corner by the wicker chair planter, so the front yard display was still beautiful. (Later in the summer I will have brightly colored zinnias growing in a little cutting bed next to Mrs. Greenbeans.)
Here is where I put those arrangements the next day for the party. (As for my spring centerpieces–I had not used the succulents in anything else yet, so I just added a little patriotic pizzaz to them and put them outside by the kitchen door.)
Remember my new alliums? Well, they were spent and dried, so I spray painted them blue and white (colors I already had) and stuck them in a few containers to add a some more fireworks to the decor.
I had also picked up extra annuals on clearance. I had not had time to plant them yet, so I just plopped them into pots and on top of soil filled containers–an easy trick!
Garden to Table
Besides acting as a lovely backdrop for the party and croquet tournament, my garden provided part of what we ate and drank. As I often do for summer gatherings, I made lemon balm water and edible flower ice cubes. Our guests brought lots of food, so the only cooking I did was to grill burgers on my BLUE grill. (Everything tastes better when cooked on a blue grill!) Nevertheless, I managed to include several things from my garden among the condiments I set out: fresh onion, bread-and-butter pickles, and Dilly Beans.
Kitchen Garden Kicking, Too
As for the kitchen garden, that has also hit its stride. I was already harvesting and using herbs and the cool crops while I was getting the warm season vegetables planted. I got as much of it weeded as I could before the party and put up my collection of antique farm tools and other ornaments. See the large metal letters that spell the word GROW (not MORG!)–a new addition this year. Whenever I talk to my garden, that’s what I say to it: GROW!