4th of July Garden Journal 2016

Cape May, NJ – Every garden has its moments and, this year, the 4th of July is one of ours.

The confluence of blooms seems premeditated.   Not so.

It just so happens that the Annabelle Hydrangea and the Oakleaf Hydrangeas, so grateful for the extra rain and cool weather, are looking better than usual for the beginning of July.  Meanwhile, the Culver’s Root, which is supposed to thrive in wetlands but gamely makes do with our clay soil, is getting a strong start, shooting spiky flowers from neat mounds of green foliage.

And then there’s the Wild Quinine. This prairie plant sprawls through the garden bed and is much more relaxed about things, including when and how long it will bloom.

Perhaps because of all the rain, Wild Quinine’s flat topped collection of white florets seemed to come a bit early. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention last year.

One thing for sure,  I know late June is the time the Cimicifuga’s white bottle brush blooms emerge. But this year, they seem livelier and are lasting longer,  dancing on their long stems in the wind, happy for the extra rain and cool air.

Is this Maine not Cape May, I think I hear them ask.

The spring weather has been more pleasant not just for the perennials but for the gardener as well.
The flower beds are better tended this year.  So much easier to weed when the weather isn’t 85 degrees.

Perennials bloom for just a few weeks, but in this new garden climate of real rain and cool temperatures,  I’m lulled into thinking these early season flowers might  last all summer.

It just doesn’t work that way.
Suddenly one morning, the white and pastel blooms of the early July garden will have morphed into the hot yellow blooms of mid summer. No time for good byes. We’ll see each other same time next year.

For now, it’s a wonder to behold the Amethyst Hydrangea, transitioning into its pink phase, while its leaves are still the bright green of spring. No brown crinkly edges here.

Now that’s the way to celebrate the 4th of July.

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.