Tending the garden in high summer is a balancing act. I adore it when the garden fills out so fully, grows so tall, that to step outside is to be immersed in flower, foliage and fragrance. Any garden that is so tamed, so well groomed that it doesn't grow blowsy by now misses summer's sensuousness. My garden's borders are blurred, bees buzz everywhere, hummingbirds blitz through, and I'm in heaven.
And yet, when you let your garden go to this point of near-abandon, all of a sudden it's too much. I find huge squashes hidden between the leaves, fava beans overgrown and leathery, plants crowding out and shading their neighbors. You know how your hair looks best right before all of a sudden it looks horrid, and you realize you're badly overdue for a cut? That's your garden teetering on the edge of overblown.....
Besides all the watering, high season gardening is a constant tinkering, clipping, harvesting, cutting back and filling in. It's a matter of clipping enough to keep plants producing and upright. But not so much they aren't still luscious enough to submerge you in summer glory.
Here are a couple of photos taken in my garden this morning, when a lovely marine layer blew in to cool the air and soften the light:
Orienpet lilies on the right, sweet peas and orange dahlias to the left. The striped grass is dwarf Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrina'. The little blue flower in front is borage, and it's edible. The lower photo is the same scene framed by the dark foliage of a chocolate silk tree (Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate')