“Fast and furious” best describes the changing gardens this month. We’ve had a few hot, humid days that are typical of July here in central Indiana, but for the most part it has been cooler than normal. Thus, many mornings the potager looks like this: A magical hazy mist softens all the edges. So much has happened this month. The daylilies came, were glorious, and are quietly departing. In their place, the black-eyed Susans have pretty much taken over the Deck Garden In the background you can see my lovely elder, dark with berry clusters that I have already begun to harvest. Doesn’t it seem like I was just making elderflower syrup a few days ago? Time is a blink! The strawberries are beginning to bear again and the blackberry harvest is in full pick. The Front Garden looks different from last month, without the daylilies and tall Oriental lilies, but the ageratum has filled in much of the gaps. The Lavender Slope looks very different, because the lavender has all been harvested and the plants sheared. No, I haven’t yet replaced the ones that perished over the winter, but it’s on the list. The lavender bunches are hanging in the Lady Cottage, along with dozens of garlic, shallot, and onion braids that were also harvested this month. Last year my total lavender harvest was 5 bunches, this year it increased to 13, so my babies are growing! Still a far cry from the thousands of bunches we harvested at the farm, but I think I’m glad not to have to work that hard anymore! In the potager, a whopping 212.5 pounds was harvested in July! That made room for a lot of succession planting. The garlic, shallots and onions created a lot of planting space, but the first two plantings of beans, lots of lettuces, and the first planting of miniature Gonzales cabbages were also eaten or preserved. The Royal Burgundy beans won the early contest, with a record 8 pickings before they were finished. In the space in the two beds lower right in the photo, you can see a row of “Mad Hatter” peppers in the front bed, and a row of Brussel sprouts in the center of the middle bed. On each side are two seeded rows: Wando peas on both sides of the bottom bed, carrots on both sides of the other. In the third bed up, on the right side of the photo are the Park’s “Season Starter” tomatoes. More on the tomato comparison in another upcoming post. Left of that bed, where garlic came out is now winter squash. It’s amazing how much they have growin in just two weeks. They were just baby plants when I set them in and now they already have baby squash forming! The “Red Candlesticks” okra seed I got at the Garden Writers’ Regional meeting on June 22nd germinated quickly and the plants are now 10″ tall and forming buds. I hope it is more tender than the “Jambalaya” variety I’ve been harvesting, which is tough and stringy at barely 3″. Two inch pods hardly seem worth the trouble of harvesting but that’s what it takes to be tender. The celery is looking great I think it likes the well-above average rainfall we’ve had in July. The peppers are changing daily, and I’ve already canned sweet red cherry and pepperoncini. The “New Ace” are beginning to turn red now and the Italian paprika peppers look terrific. I’m really happy with the “Golden Anniversary” agastache, and the butterflies love it, too. It really brightens up the potager interior border. And the new Cutting Garden is producing bouquets. More on that in another post as well. So that’s July! I expect August will produce more poundage, because the heavyweights like tomatoes will be coming on in full force. I just hope August goes a bit more slowly than July did!