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My garden is thriving in the dog days of summer. I am watching as all the summer meadow flowers come in to bloom from week to week. Right now, the meadow garden is chock full of bee balm – there are three different species and some hybrids between the species. The colors are magnificent. Blooming along with the bee balm is the common milkweed, but soon the black eyed susans, ironweed and mountain mint will start blooming too.

The shade gardens are beautiful right now as well. The black bugbane is in full bloom. Goats beard looks like astilbe on steroids and is gorgeous at its full four foot height. The flowering raspberry adds pink tones to the shaded garden and is mixes beautifully with the white flowers that light up the cooler, darker garden.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the garden. On hot days it is nice to look over the hard work that has been put in to make a beautiful garden. I am often surprised by the garden from year to year. Different plants bloom at different times, changing the plant combinations in bloom at any time. Be sure you take time to enjoy the beauty of summer in the garden.

One of the best things about native plant combinations is that they can withstand changes in the weather. It has been a dry year – Massachusetts has been officially declared in a state of drought. Once established, many of our natives are able to cope with the lack (or excess) of water, temperature extremes and anything else the weather throws at us. It causes some plants to bloom better, some bloom less – but at least they generally survive. Wildflowers bloom throughout the year as well – you can always find something native for each season of the year.

Enjoy your hard work, the beautiful plants. If you would like some ideas for planting in the fall, stop by Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary. Our trails are open and free to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

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