My New Hanging Basket


My hanging basket of fuschia is now convalescing in the shade of the crabapple tree in our front yard. I didn’t realize its modest sunlight quota, and I almost burnt it out on the shepherd’s hook in the full sun bed in my back yard. I went and selected a replacement basket full of red calibrachoa. It thrives in this sunny spot.

Garden, June 15, and Can I Hear You Now?


The light has been unreliable at best this week. The phrase “at best” reminds me that my husband could have some aptitude for public relations. Whenever I comment to him that another woman is good looking, he tells me that whatever woman I’ve mentioned, no matter how famous or obscure she may be, is “average at best.”

I think we’ve unwittingly borrowed weather from a random place about 500 miles south of here, as we’ve been trapped between oppressive heat and cloudbursts. The daylilies have bloomed, and my sunflower seedlings will be ready for thinning soon. I don’t like this step of growing sunflowers, but these plants grow so large it is necessary. Every time I worry that I haven’t chosen the best seedling.

In other news, I had my hearing test this week. The results were better than expected, so much so that I’m languishing in some self-doubt over it. I presumed that I was halfway to profound deafness in one ear, but my hearing loss hasn’t progressed at all in 24 years.


The most crucial thing I learned from this chart is this: while it well-established that assuming things about others can lead to comic, even tragic results, you can do the same thing to yourself. I just can’t adequately capture how tightly I sewed “half-deaf” into the fabric of my days. While I do have some hearing loss, I really don’t have enough to use it as an excuse for avoiding unpleasant things.

It was easier to excuse myself from chit chat at gatherings on the grounds that I’d be hopeless at deciphering the words of multiple people in conversation, or better yet, avoid that gathering at all. Now I’ll have to find a graceful way to own the real reason I avoid groups.

I strongly prefer talking to people one on one, and I would rather pluck out all of my eyebrows in slow motion than spend an evening with several people who are unfamiliar to me. I struggle to find my bearings and make conversation flow unless I’m encountering one new person at a time. Maybe this is part of being an introvert, but I thought it was a side effect of my hearing loss.

While there was martyrdom in presuming my “inevitable” progression toward deafness, I do have enough of a loss to get a hearing aid for my right ear. By the way, my martyr complex comes naturally. In my darker moments, I’ve told a few people to not bother playing the martyr card with me because I was raised by masters of the art.

I will get fitted for my hearing aid next week. In the meantime, I’m using a demo model from the audiology clinic that is programmed with my audiogram so it amplifies the proper frequencies for me.

I walked into the backyard this evening and heard the birds flitting about the ditch sing in full stereo for the first time. The light was heavy with the approach of twilight, so these pictures don’t have the usual saturation of sunlight I prefer.

Garden, June 4


Yesterday I could no longer deny that time is short to create a decent garden. The garden centers are filling up with ready-made porch planters and hanging baskets, retail’s gentle way of letting customers know that their options are dwindling for summer blooms.

Once again I am relying on lots of petunias. There’s no doubt that petunias are reliable, pretty bloomers, but I think of them as the perm of home gardening. Just like I wanted big hair back in the 80’s, I want a high density of flowers in my garden beds now.

I like the wash-and-wear convenience of petunias, as well. By the way, my hair is almost always wash-and-wear. There has not been a single bottle of hairspray in this house in over a year.

I found some petunias in different sizes, from large Wave petunias to little calibrachoa (which I haven’t tried before and could be the Toni home perm of my garden, if I going to continue the hair analogy).

I also added a fuschia hanging basket. My mom had one years ago that was massive with white centers that I wish I had found when I was shopping for plants yesterday. The purple and hot pink one I found is good enough.

In other news, I can’t decide which WordPress theme would be best for this blog. I’m back to the reliable Twenty-Sixteen theme for now.

Mammoth Russian


Above is one of the mammoth Russian sunflowers I grew three years ago. I’m still waiting for them to germinate this year, and I’m already filled with anticipation for the their late dinner-plate gauge blooms. Mammoth Russians have what I imagine to be the greatest joy-per-penny spent ratio in gardening. For as little as 50 cents, you can have an entire flower bed of 12-foot-high yellow wonder awaiting you in August.

First Echinacea


I added a couple of these perennials to my garden just last year, after they’d already started blooming. It seems rather early for its first bloom. Echinacea is such a dependable presence in summer gardens around here that I haven’t paid attention to their usual timing. I think of them as mid to late summer flowers, but I guess I didn’t realize they could endure through part of spring and all of summer.