Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Daze

The verbena bonariensis just keeps on blooming and blooming. This plant is a wonderful staple for the garden and I just can't recommend it to you strongly enough.

I've cut a little for a bouquet or two, and had to trim off a flowerhead that had been damaged...but that has only caused side shoots to begin blooming. The rest of the flowerheads just continue on and on, producing ever more of these tiny purple flowers. And there's just nothing at all wrong with that. Plus the butterflies love them.

These purple pansies are continuing to bloom regularly and their cheery faces never fail to make me grin. For that alone, I'm grateful that they are continuing to bloom, nestled amongst the neighboring overgrowth of allyssum.

The lamp post garden is doing well, despite not being in the zone serviced by the soaker hose. There's a whole lot to see here, starting on the far left with yet another sunflower climbing toward the heavens.

Moving right, there's shasta daisies, allyssum, down low is a slight flush of pink in the form of some sedum only just coming into bloom, and further back is a yellow african marigold.

In the background there's some corn...and more sunflowers...and then this massive cloud of morning glories where there once was a fence post. All the way right are yet a few more sunflowers and the morning glories are just beginning to reach out to twine themselves around these latest tall stalks.

Speaking of the sunflowers, here's yet another cheery flower from one of those first plants who began growing on my bedroom windowsill way back on the first of April.

In talking about things that were steadily blooming yesterday, I may have done a few of my favorite plants a dis-service, including the dianthus. While they are not blooming as heavily as they did early on in spring, they are continuing to offer a some color down low, where it is quite welcome.

Additionally, the loosestrife continues to put out its tiny star-like flowers. I'm a little sorry to have discovered this plant's identity, as I became quite fond of it before realizing it was the dreaded invader.

Here it shares the stage with one of the legion of bachelor's buttons blooming all along the border.

There are several lychnis plants along the fence as well, which have continued to bloom steadily throughout the summer, moreso when I remember to snip off the faded flowerheads.

Badum is a pretty good natured kitty. He generally spends his life alternating between the pretense of a sedentary lifestyle, and tearing from one window in the house to the next. No doubt, the regular parade of chipmunks, birds, bunnies, wild turkeys and who-knows-what-else through the yard keeps him happily occupied with plenty to watch.

This afternoon I happened upon the gardener's cat peering out the window. "Hey, buddy, what you lookin' at?" was met with the withering feline disdain no other species can quite muster, as if to say, "It's cat stuff. I wouldn't expect you to understand. Please don't crowd me at the window."

Of course, it was a little finch foraging in the lawn outside that had his attention. But I concede there were probably also a dozen other things vying for his attention that I couldn't possibly have noticed.

Heaven knows my own attention was challenged today. It was my first full day off in about two weeks, and with such lovely weather (bright and sunny, with temps in the high sixties), the temptation was to let my senses lead me through the day, or maybe just find a patch of sun or shade and settle in with a good page-turner.

Alas, there are other things I really needed to spend some time working on...and so I made my best effort to focus on some of that, spending some time up in the steamy attic, as well as working on other less lovely, but important projects.

But it was the sort of stuff done in small doses, and so I was happy to walk away regularly to explore the garden at different times of the day, playing with the camera as I found new subjects and different angles and the varying lighting effects that an ever-moving sun provides.

This bumbler was happily plundering the remaining blossoms on the agastache during one of my breaks. And while I was out there, I spotted a hummingbird buzzing along the border, exploring and examining the sunflowers and morning glories and corn plants before taking a breather on the power line high above.

I wish the canna lilies would start blooming - they are certainly tall enough now - and I think their red flowers (if indeed they are a red-flowered variety; I realize suddenly that I'm not certain of that.) would be a welcome addition to the garden, as far as attracting hummingbirds.

The Burpee Big Boy tomatoes are beginning to ripen, so I am continuing to hold hope that a tasty and sweet tomato sandwich is in the cards for me sometime real soon.

I ended up getting a fair amount accomplished today, in between exploration breaks, and so I felt the deep nap I stumbled into at the end of the afternoon was well-deserved.

It also allowed me to miss the newstime spoiler reports of the latest event results from the Olympics. Not knowing how things will turn out always makes watching a little more interesting, I think.

The BMX races are postponed this evening, due to rain in Beijing, which is a shame, because I'm just fascinated by them...and the crazy course the races are run upon. To me, it's quite similar to the moguls skiing events of the Winter Games--it looks sort of painful and wild, but I just can't look away!

Meanwhile, there's been some gymnastic exhibitions. Everyone always performs so nicely when the pressure of competition has lifted a little. Just amazing performances there.

I'd sort of hoped that the rain delay on the BMX might've opened up some primetime space for the kayaking/canoe events, but I suppose that isn't the sort of big ticket thing you broadcast in the evening. I'll have to look online for that.

But also tonight, platform diving! Talk about crazy...I think I may once have jumped (I hesitate to use the word "dive" during this Olympic week, when it is clear I am not worthy to associate with the word) from a high diving board back during childhood swim lessons, but knowing my irrational fear of heights, it's also entirely possible that I just climbed back down instead. And in any event, it wasn't nearly as tall as what they are diving so gracefully from!!

Oh, and what a fantastic way to end the evening's post: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor just locked up another gold medal for the USA in the arena of Women's Beach Volleyball!!

By the way, I have been remiss in making a recommendation: if you, like me, are enjoying submerging yourself in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, you may enjoy visiting TR over at From the Faraway Nearby. Tim's working the games over in Beijing, and his experiences in the city have been a fascinating and fun counterpoint to the television coverage. His blog has been one of my favorite new discoveries this summer.

By all means, check it out!


Bird said...

Oh how I miss my old cat and her unfriendly disdainful ways! No other creature does "snotty" quite like a feline :) And you have hummingbirds...WOW!

Aha, and Petula Clarks "Downtown" just started playing so I now have a grin a mile wide, excuse me while I sing along!

Marc said...

Big Boys - good tomatoes! I think you will find them better than the Early Girls. Beautiful pictures, as always!

somewhere joe said...

What butterfly wouldn't love your verbena, Greg. It's a big ruffled lollipop.

I'm very fond of tomato sandwiches... toasted, with mayo and a drizzle of Italian dressing. So refreshing!

I saw the golden girls' performance on that rainy court last night. Wow. I think Kerri is my favorite Olympian this year.

Jenn Thorson said...

Verbena is just terrific isn't it? And smells so good, too.

Badum is a cutie-- very regal and yes, the disdain is tangible. :)

Butch said...

Those tomatoes are looking real good. Back in the Midwest, my sister used to have a nice vegetable garden with huge tomatoes that one could smell growing on the plant during hot days. I loved choosing a huge, very ripe tomato to make just a plain tomato sandwich or a BLT. Nothing can beat a tomato and lettuce and freshly fried bacon on a sandwich with a wee bit of mayo. I'm starting to get hungry again.

Joie Mayfield said...

OMG, I loved the BMX! I was sad it was postponed. However, we don't want anymore ugly crashes.

Great post as normal!


Jess said...

Each visit to your blog is a lovely break. Today brought more flowers, of course, but also birds, felines, bees. Just lovely! (BTW, the bee photo is great!)

Greg said...

Bird, I must say Badum very rarely gives me that feline disdain. He really is a pretty friendly cat-dude. Oh, there's nothing like a little Petula Clark to perk one up, is there?

Marc, I'll let you know my impressions of the Big Boys. The tomatoes, that is. ; )

Hey Joe, you know when you leave a comment from down there in Lennai (sp?) Land and mention the Golden Girls, you make me think of Cheesecake and Sicily. But those Beach Volleyball golden girls really gave a good show in the rain, didn't they?

Jenn, I have often called him The Little King. He does have a certain regal bearing about him. Of course, all that goes away when he's lounging around on his back, his considerable belly exposed to all the world.

Butch, you've got me hungry now, too!

Joie, BMX is just amazing to watch, isn't it? It would've been a horrible mess in the rain, though.

Hiya Jess, thanks for your lovely comment! That bee was pretty amazing, huh? Lovin' the new camera!!

Anonymous said...

Badum has got that "look" of "Oh no, you caught me" all over his face." The canna is one of my favorite plants I worked with at the Park District. It indeed has a red bloom. Your selection of Abba's "Take a Chance on Me" is ringing in my head. ;-)

Java said...

What a gorgeous day! I'm glad there were such beautiful distractions to pull you away from the tedious tasks inside.

Birdie said...

Greg, how well do these blooms do when cut? Do you bring arrangements inside?

Greg said...

Afod, I think he might be able to fool you with his contrition act, but in time, you would learn better...

The cannas came to me via a plant sale, and I believe they are red, though there are also yellow and orange varieties out there in the world.

You and me both, Java! The garden's saving me, lately.

Birdie, I don't always remember to bring arrangements in the house. Sometimes, if something is particularly beautiful or wonderfully perfumed, I will.

But mostly when I cut, it's deadheading, or for arrangements to bring to other people for various occasions.

Some things last longer than others in water, but some are faded by the next day...and the Queen Anne's lace just throws its pollen and seed in a great circle around the base of the vase.

lostlandscape said...

You've captured cat-ness perfectly in your description of Badum, but after last night's energetic slurping by one of my aunt's spaniel I'm appreciative of a certain feline aloofness...

I've heard of corn in a three sisters planting, but looks like you've got quite the extended family going on in the front bed. Sounds like your day off was a great one. Enjoy what's left of the summer. (Days in the 60s? Oh brrrrrrrrrr.........)

Anonymous said...

Nice gardens you have there. Being a city dweller means I don't necessarily have the requisite plots of land in which to garden but pots work well too.

I've grown tomato (Both beefsteak and cherry and a hybrid between both!) and zucchini, peppers and I've got two cherry trees and a lemon tree that are about 7" tall right now.

Give me any seed or 3/4 dead plant and I can bring it to fruition or back to life.