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Garden Journal

milkweedbeeAt this point, we are entering ‘high summer’ here and things are, shall we say, disappointing.

It was a rainy and cold spring. And, it’s become a rainy and chilly late spring and then it warmed up a bit the last couple of weeks and it rained some more. We had 9 inches of rain in June, alone. I could not get out in the garden because frankly, it was mud and then when it warmed up and dried out a bit, the weeds just went nuts, so I spent this weekend weeding. Now, I hate weeding, but it’s the best we can do in order to keep the competition down. Yes, I could use row covers, but I like to keep the amount of plastic down.

Yes, there are mulches you can use, but wood chips (which is what is available to me in sizeable amounts, pulls the nitrogen out of the soil and then I’d have to supplement with fish meal or something like that. It’s like the time my mom decided to wash the greasy spot on the ceiling over the stove – once she’d washed it, the rest of the ceiling looked bad. So, she washed that and then she saw that the cupboards were looking dingy, so she scrubbed those. then she decided that the problem with them was that they were old (which they were), so she had a carpenter come in to put on new doors – and once she’d had that done, everything else looked old, so she had him replace the counters and the flooring. Thousands of dollars in expense because she decided the ceiling over the stove looked greasy.

In any case, there are actually lots of very interesting things going on, because it is high summer here and as you can see from the top photo, the local wild milkweed (which we have a big patch of between the garage and the slough — well, actually, in the spring, it’s really a fairly quick-running creek, but by this time there is so much in the way of vegetation growing in it, it’s more of a slough) is now coming into its own. Which is a very good thing for the pollinators (one very conveniently stopped for a meal while I was taking a photo today). Now, there is a lot of hoo-hah about milkweed and Monarch Butterflies, but so far, I have not seen any Monarchs on the milkweed. I did, however, see one of these characters today.greatfittilary This is a Great Spangled Frittilary (great name, that) and one of them was making quite the job of going from milkweed plant to milkweed plant. I’m hoping it was to lay an egg, but we’ll see.

What else? Well, not exactly in the garden, though I think he or she has been a visitor (the chewed up quality of some of the plants points to this), and that is a ground hog (or, more correctly, the Eastern Marmot). One seems to have taken up residence under our deck (oh, well) and there is not much one can do about that. Anything really effective is downright nasty and requires hazardous chemicals. No go.

The other day, on one of the only sunny days we’d had, I happened to glance out the living room window which faces out on the deck and there he/she was, all stretched out in a sunny spot. And I mean literally stretched out – as if (oh, I’m going to go with a single gender at this point) he was on the beach. All that was missing was a towel, a glass of iced tea and a battery powered radio. I crept to the window (because ground hogs are notoriously keen of hearing and will take off at the slightest noise) and watched him for a while.

Not a muscle moved. I thought, “oh, dear – some cat has got him and decided to deposit a gift…yum, yum.”

I tapped on the window – he literally turned his head and looked at me. I almost could see a slight curl of his lip.

What an affront!! Not even with the decency to jump up and scamper away in fear. I waited for him to yell out, “Honey – can you get me a sandwich?” I gave the window a good bang and he waddled off.

Strangely, I haven’t seen him for the last couple of days. If he’s as quick on his feet as he was that day, I’m sure a cat has gotten him now.

What else is going on?

Well, a couple of years ago, I started hybridizing daylilys (which is simplicity itself, really) and replanting the seeds that resulted. It takes a couple of years for the plants to get big enough to have any flowers so that you can see what you’ve got. And some of them are blossoming now. I’ll take some photos and show them off in a bit.

Have a good week. (Butterfly photo courtesy of Gardens With wings)

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One Comment

  1. Shiphrah says:

    If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk….

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