Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July's Half-Way

Ahh, morning breaks. With coffee in hand, I head out into the front yard. I didn't hear it rain again in the night, so I'm watering as usual...about ten to fifteen minutes of deep soaking from the soaker hose, and then some careful above spraying with the nozzle for the spots outside the realm of the buried soaker.

In their hanging basket under the eaves, the fuschia ballerinas dance in dawn's early light.

After I connect the soaker hose and turn on the water, I wander along the border, sipping my coffee and looking to see what the morning reveals.

For not the first time, I wonder about the true identity of the two or three plants I've been referring to as rudbeckia. The thing is, I dug these out of the meadow at our old place when they were single flowered seedlings, so they didn't come with a nursery tag.

For the last three years, I've started off the season referring to them as rudbeckia, but then, as I watch the flower petals take on a droopier form, I wonder if they aren't something from the coneflower family, instead. But a flower by any name is still a beautiful thing to behold, so not being a botanist, I don't worry too awfully much.

However, as a garden blogger, I really ought to be telling you the right names for things, so I'll try to be diligent and do some further research to see which family of plants these guys are most similar to. Rather than find yourself troubled by this whole identity crisis...take a look at that sunflower upstage. That one's also as tall as me now.

Now, I'd been watching the bachelor button seedlings carefully, and noted a day or two ago that the first buds were forming. So this first blue blossom today was not truly a surprise, but still. I just love these flowers. They are so simple and old fashioned and delightful and blue.

I'm pleased to have so many of them, as I think they will bloom throughout the summer if I can keep up on the deadheading. Of course, if I can't, I know there's a host of little birdies in the neighborhood who'll happily munch on the seedheads as the summer progresses.

So captivated with this first blue beauty was I, that it was a complete surprise to see that Joan Senior, my white daylily, was blooming for the first time today. It's not one of the tall daylilies and so this plant had sort of gone into stealth mode as the rest of the garden grew up around her.

This morning's buttercream blossom was completely unexpected. I knew there were two of these plants somewhere in the border, but to be honest, I really wasn't sure just where.

Here's that sport of the other "rudbeckia" or coneflower...whichever they turn out to be.

I noticed only in "developing" the photos this evening that this first blossom has suffered from some chewing of the petals, probably from some insect or caterpillar.

Fortunately, I don't get myself too worried about that. After all, I'm not using any kind of pesticides in the garden and if the plant provides some nutrients for something, then there's a natural reason for that and I've no business messing in the process.

Anyway, the first flower would've concealed the second flower too much if it'd still had those missing petals.

The garden is a real joy this time of year. Things that were dry little seeds in my hand not at all long ago have burst forth with these little green miracles everywhere I look. The second and third waves of sunflower seedlings look even more robust than the ones currently blooming, having done all of their growing outside in the heat and the sun.

The first class of cleome are coming into bloom all along the fence. In other places, a second wave of them are growing a few weeks behind. I noticed tonight that some are taller than others, as they are shaded by things which will pass as these continue to grow around them.

All of the cosmos plants--there are a couple different varieties, all told--are getting bigger and bushier every day and I'm sure before long they will join the fray. There's an assortment of seashell cosmos, as well as at least one plant of the regular variety. I also planted a whole packet of sulphur cosmos seeds, which should add a taller note of orange and yellow to echo the marigolds down below.

These cherry tomatoes are showing the first signs of coloring up nicely. I can't wait to pop the first sweet one into my mouth so morning not far off.

And I must sing the praises of the Pansies once more. They are, especially in the summer heat and bright sun, some of the hardest working plants I've got out there this year.

I can't believe this blue variety, which Coop loved so back when we were celebrating Spring, Glorious Spring, are still doing so nicely this far into July. I'm absolutely thrilled, though, since they are my favorite of the lot of them, too!

That said, I can see that some of the pansy plants will require a somewhat severe cropping back to help them continue on into August. I also try to slip them a little extra water via watering can now and then. It's really the least I can do for such an effort.

The morning glories are continuing to offer their cheery trumpets every morning, tho I am amused by the fact that I either grouped all of the same colors together on each post, by chance, or else some morning soon, I'll come outside to find that the other vines have joined in the show and brought the rest of the color range in the packet to the table.

The vines are growing like mad lately. Every day, sometimes morning and evening, I have to carefully peel them off of whatever errant place they have decided to explore, and cautiously weave them through the string trellaces I laced up the fenceposts in the spring...or more often lately, as they become more overgrown (which I mean in the best possible use of the word), I simply weave and braid them around the other stems. The leaves almost entirely conceal one or two of the posts, and in a few cases, the twining stems have tried to work their way up assorted little flagpoles.

The colors on this lantana are so hot I'm having trouble getting just the right picture of them. This is the first one that I've been happy enough with to share with you, and even here, I had to remove about 50% of the color saturation before you could look at the image without burning your retinas.

Which is funny, because I could look at the actual flowers with their variegated tones all day long. I hoping that some hummingbirds will feel the same way, too.


Butch said...

Oh, your tomatoes are on their way. They look very healthy.

Greg said...

Butch, when I was a new gardener, I used to segregate the tomatoes from the flowers and the plants were a little on the spindly side.

I suspect that on some subconscious level, I enjoy the flowers more, and am probably more diligent about watering them.

So it made sense to get the tomatoes right in there, too...and it turns out the tomatoes LOVE being treated like flowers!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful "reveals" as always! I eat cherry tomatoes like candy. Unfortunately, I paid the price in the Summer of 2006 when so much tomato acid did a number on my stomach. Moderation is always key. :-)

Greg said...

Thanks, Afod. That's good advice for me, as I haven't had quantity successes with tomatoes in the past and so they were my breakfast while I was out watering!

Of course, they are so sweet right off the vine...