October Hibiscus

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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.

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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, 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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Garden, July 22

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Heavy morning rain yielded to high humidity and gusting wind in the early afternoon. I didn’t see reliable sunshine until well into the evening. At this point, the star of this show is definitely my pink hibiscus. It will open its hundreds of blooms over the next month, and I will photograph many of them, hoping to see them anew each time.

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Garden, July 15

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I’m so pleased that my rose mallow hibiscus plant has started blooming. There are hundreds of buds on this single bush, and it has grown six feet high by five feet wide.

The garden was truly pleased with this week’s substantial rain. Most of the plants have increased their height and their blooms. My sunflowers climbed a foot higher and added canopies of leaves. They will not bloom for another month or so.

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