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Summer Has Arrived

pink bee balm monarda

The heat hit with the solstice this week, didn’t it? Whew! Not too pleasant to garden in, but it does feel good to get out of the shower in the morning and not be cold. Because you know any life of ease requires that you can get out of the shower in the morning without being cold. :D

“Life of ease” reminds me of listening to Tracy Chapman’s first album over and over again back in the 80s. My daughter, who was about four at the time, thought Tracy Chapman was a man dreaming about lima beans! Remember the song, “Mountains O’ Things?” If you don’t remember the lyrics, listen to the end of the Soundcloud sample you’ll see why she thought that. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage over the years out of that cute misunderstanding.

 

In the garden

But let’s see, the garden.

This week I got excited when I realized I was going to get beebalm blooms for the first time in years (the pink flower photo up top). I believe it is Monarda fistulosa but I wouldn’t swear to it. I feel sure it’s all the rain we had this spring that helped them thrive. Today is the first day the blooms have shown color. They came out fast when the temps went up.

When I was out checking for progress on the beebalm a couple of days ago (and the flowers were still completely green then) I saw my first preying mantis of the season. It was tiny, only a half inch long. They look like identical replicas of the adults, which makes them especially adorable somehow.

beautyberry flowers callicarpa americana

The beautyberries (Callicarpa americana, Callicarpa dichotoma) are blooming like crazy this year, which should make for a nice berry year. The flowers are tiny, but beautiful up close. Those long stamens look like eyelashes.

The bright pink flowers of wild basil (Clinopodium vulgare) are tiny too, but they pack an itty bitty punch with that beautiful color. It disappeared from where it was originally planted, but then sprouted up between my patio stones. How cool that it was able to relocate itself to a happier place like that.

I had heard wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) was kind of, well, assertive. Because of my wide and varied difficulties with gardening (ha), I figured not too likely to be a problem over here. BUT it is spreading quite a bit! I’m perfectly happy with it so far, though. The flowers are very pretty and not deer proof, so plenty of it is fine with me.

Houseplant woes

I made a disappointing discovery this week on my hindu rope (Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’). Mealy bugs. I’ve heard of people throwing those curly-leaved ones out when they get mealies, but I’m hoping for the best with the beneficial insects outside, which I mentioned before, can really take care of unwanted houseplant critters. I’ll spray it with insecticidal soap and/or neem oil if I absolutely have to, but for now I’m picking them off by hand. I noticed a house wren pecking at something on one of them, which might be kind of cool. I hope it was the mealy bugs.

Should I be worried?

One more thing before I go. There’s an owl that keeps its eye on our puppy when we’re out in the yard! Makes us nervous. We usually go back inside until he flies away. Have you heard of a little dog being attacked by an owl? Maybe I don’t want to know!

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