October Hibiscus

37484549860_ce4d2b3da1_z

Last night the temperature dipped into the low 40’s, yet my hibiscus plant is still making a valiant effort to rebloom. This year’s garden has been a welcome distraction from my ongoing orthopedic problems (and a depression whose volume is directly proportional to how much pain I’m feeling on a given day). I see inspiration in the partial blooms on that hibiscus plant. It keeps going, even when no pleasant outcome is guaranteed. It grows with an unspoken knowledge that it will persist over the years. All of this blooming is just a bonus, a nod to its kind that it too hopes for a little immortality.

37484556360_bf0e99308c_z

Yesterday’s Garden

37452148900_14d2da159a_k

I’m happy I was able to get a few shots of my garden yesterday, for today has proved to be too blustery for good shots. The weather has remained warmer than average, and I don’t see that we have a threat of frost for the next 10 days. It is possible the garden could persist for the entire month of October. Last year it didn’t give up the ghost until the second week of November.

37709641181_48cf981b18_k23856384178_2d6a089c6e_k

October Garden, 50 mm

37365732080_430b694eb9_k

I don’t feel inspired to take many pictures on cloudy days, but I’ve been noticing lots of great photos taken in low light on Instagram. Early this evening, I did a quick photo walk through my garden with my Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 D lens attached to my Nikon D5200.

I think this is my first reference to my photo equipment in a blog post. My stuff squarely resides in the “prosumer” segment of photography. I have two DSLR’s, the aforementioned Nikon and a Canon Rebel T6. The sole reason I have the Rebel is value. I was able to get the camera and two lenses (one of these was a 300 mm zoom lens, no less) for the regular price of the camera alone. I suppose the smarter choice would have been upgrading my Nikon camera body, but as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, sometimes instant gratification takes too long (as the late, great Carrie Fisher wrote in Postcards from the Edge).

I have six lenses as well. Two of these are the kit lens for each camera. For my Nikon I have the 50 mm and two zoom lenses, a 200 mm Nikkor VR lens (which I love) and a Tamron 300 mm that I haven’t used once since I bought the 200 mm. My Canon also has the 300 mm I mentioned above.

I don’t often think of using the 50 mm, but the quiet light of this evening was well suited to it. The day began with fog and ended with light rain; our small drought is over. The cold has not settled here yet. We haven’t yet had the unique autumn pleasure of surrendering to the chill by wearing a coat or nestling under a blanket.

36913836124_76ea737f71_k37592096042_e2ad9c2703_k23771404968_5e47899542_k37365550860_3ecf1128b2_k36953665003_19d24b7d87_k37365638620_b72b45c969_k37591979542_b62138d810_k37591964682_356e1ab085_o

 

Garden, October 7

37520789402_96089b1e19_k

Once again the weather is warm enough to inspire me to turn on the air conditioner in the house. Today’s forecasted high is 81 degrees, and my flowers are loving this weather.

By the way, I’ve posted more images and few little video clips of my garden on Instagram.

Do you post photos on Instagram? If so, please leave a link to your Instagram feed in the comments so I can follow you there, too.

23700389288_100126b73f_k37293911050_2cd574df07_k37520768172_2e06faf7b7_k37504512696_9d41810e0d_k

 

Garden, October 1

37368888246_9efd6550b2_z

I am pleased that my pink rose mallow hibiscus has rebloomed for the second year in a row. For reasons I can only guess, the blooms on this second crop are about a third smaller than the large flowers that this bush offered at the height of summer. It is possible that a steep decline in rainfall stunted the growth of these blooms, or maybe the smaller flowers are this bush’s way to rage against the dying of the light (i.e, the end of this year’s growing season).

Today has been such a busy day. It included plenty of walking, necessary shopping, and even a bit of house cleaning. I’m not sure what sparked this interest in cleaning today, but I’ve learned to seize these moments lest my family live in squalor. I even mopped my kitchen floor, a task I detest more than most chores. The floor is linoleum that has aged to the degree that it looks a bit dirty even when it is clean, making the task of mopping seem pointless.

Replacing the kitchen flooring is a project that never seems to rise to the top of our priorities. It nearly made the top of the list a year ago, but the cracking of our bathtub stole its thunder. I suppose this post is supposed to be about the garden, but this is the floor I must confront almost every time I walk outside to the garden. I glance at the worn linoleum, consider what a cluster such a project would be (the stove and fridge would need to be moved out of the way, for instance), and I feel a bit worn out just thinking about it. The vision of it exhausts me a little despite that we would hire someone to do the work.

I will close the subject of the kitchen floor with a mopping tip that my husband offered me. I credit him with filling in many of my gaps in common sense. Anyway, he told me that he mops a floor twice, once with a cleaner and water solution and the second time with plain hot water. This second mopping seemed like overkill to me before I tried it for the first time. I was stunned at how much dirt was lifted through that second mopping with water.

Back to the topic of the garden . . . My sunflowers stopped blooming a couple weeks ago, so I pulled them this week. There weren’t many seeds left on the plants because some yellow finches had been snacking on them. I am grateful that they spared me the task of harvesting the seeds, but I wish they had been less camera shy. A hummingbird has also been visiting my calibrachoa baskets, but he is even less willing to be photographed.

Temperatures have had a wild variation this week. We had a high of 91 earlier in the week, but the temperature dipped down to 39 degrees last night. My petunias and calibrachoa have well endured these challenges.

37368919646_7e2c72e828_z37368884976_41ef2ede73_z37416287601_6e061f2c9b_z23563706648_0a85d1d1f4_z36706212304_67511f0af2_z

Garden, September 24

The heat still rages and is expected to linger through most of the coming week. My petunias are loving this sweltering weather. My hanging baskets have endured the heat with a daily watering.

My tolerance for extreme temperatures diminishes with each passing year. I seem to remember writing last year that eventually I may be left with a ten-degree zone of comfort, likely 60 to 70 degrees with just enough overcast and rainy days for plants to thrive.

While I will not miss these 85 to 90 degrees when they pass, I take solace in the fact they are stalling the start of freezing temperatures that will halt this year’s garden by mid-fall.

092417182936577441144_091009a713_k37240497156_1d876ec875_k36577420364_c44c7db142_k

Garden, September 17

37142759651_df1f6a5bcf_z

Our summer-ending heatwave has enlivened the garden. The second batch of buds is swelling on my hibiscus bush, so it is looking more likely to rebloom like it did last year:

37285503135_d144d36516_z

The petunias are loving this heat:

37094549736_43f4003cf7_z36471004313_7c517396c1_z