Garden, June 17

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I don’t like this heat, but I am apt to complain of temperatures that dare to escape my 10-degree margin of comfort (currently 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and narrowing by the year it seems). Any day with heat in excess of 80 degrees shall be called anathema; a 95-degree day like today has a name so indecent I shall not write it.

The flowers seem to enjoy this heat if they have enough water. A couple of the hanging baskets dried out a bit by the evening watering time, but I persuaded them back from the brink with a long drink.

Garden, June 9

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Rain has reigned today (homonym intended) with just a few peeks of steaming sunshine. We’ve already had an inch of rain today, and an omen of more appeared in the street:

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I don’t think we’ve had enough wind today for the pool to have arrived via a strong gust. Maybe all the owner’s children have outgrown so small a pool, so this freight of early childhood was slyly discarded in a way that commemorates past neighborhood floods.

Our garden has needed this rain. The yard looks like shorn straw in places, which oddly reminds me of that episode of Spongebob Squarepants wherein Spongebob realizes that he becomes bleached rather than tanned in sunny weather. That is one thing I won’t forget about my own daughter’s early childhood, Spongebob’s sometimes edgy humor. That episode about the Krusty Krab training video is quite subversive. It makes me consider that while we are lucky that one’s first job is no longer dangerous child labor (at least in this part of the world), there is still something a tiny bit soul-crushing about selling one’s labor for the first time, especially if that buyer trains with patronizing cheesiness. By the way, I feel lucky that I work for a business that doesn’t have corny, dumb-downed training materials. I once worked for a now-defunct retailer whose training video on loss prevention featured an elderly woman slipping a set of steak knives into a purse that matched her babushka.

Back to the garden, the sudden rain enriched the ditch that runs between our backyard and an adjacent wetland. Somehow a Dutch iris has emerged in the ditch:

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The rest of the ditch has adopted an Ophelia-worthy pose like these water lilies before bloom:

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This year we decided to add morning glories and a trellis to the garden. The seedlings are starting to grow leaves and were undoubtedly grateful today’s rain:

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My pots and hanging baskets continue to prosper:

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Garden, October 1

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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.

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Garden, September 10

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t make a weekly garden post before the first frost hits us, an event which has an unknown date as of yet.

My hanging baskets are loving the cool nights and moderate days, but they’ve demanded a daily watering. I think this is a sign that they are wearing their baskets like painted on jeans.

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Garden, August 15

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Every year I take a small back-to-school vacation to help my daughter prepare for her next school year. We hope to get every last thing she needs for school, but we usually accomplish the most essential thing, resting up for a busy year.

The sunflowers are usually in bloom at this time, and this year is no exception. Our garden is past its peak. Despite the hot, dry days of this time, the nights will soon get too cold for some of our flowers to thrive for much longer.

So much will change in the next month, as it does every year at this time.

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My New Hanging Baskets

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My two petunia baskets suffered the fate of so many hanging baskets purchased in spring: they perished due to irregular watering. With all the time I’ve spent in the garden this year, I should have attended to this task more. Instead, they wilted one too many times in the heat and did not rebound.

I found a couple gorgeous calibrachoa baskets last weekend. My red calibrachoa basket hasn’t needed as much attention as the petunia baskets did. I feel hopeful that these two additions will thrive in the garden.