We’ve had 90-102 degree temperatures for more than a week. They hit while my husband and I were traveling, so keeping our garden and flowers alive depended on our daughter who became the full time waterer while we were gone. She did an amazing job, but welcomed us home with open arms!
Our driveway is at an angle from the street. When we decided to place our vegetable garden on the west side of our house (where we get the most sun), we made that angled driveway part of the design. Hubby built the nine 4 x 4 raised beds for the veggies and placed them in a grid pattern parallel to the house and the sidewalk, leaving plenty of walk space between them. That left a big triangle between the garden and the driveway.
This Spring I decided to honor the triangle by filling it with flowers. I ordered seeds for Zahara Zinnias after seeing a display of them at Farmington Gardens last Fall. They were so beautiful and different from zinnias I had seen before, so I planted masses of them…much closer together than the instructions on the seed packet said to do. Then I watered them and waited. I was not disappointed! They are quite beautiful, the bees like them, and they add a lot of color to our veggie garden!
SUMMER! This summer our yard has lots of flowers blooming, tomatoes happening, yummy peppers to add to salads, little cucumbers promising! And I will say something that I’ve rarely said before: I am loving this Summer! That’s very unusual for me. I’ve always had a lot of trouble with the heat, so summer has never been my favorite season. But this summer is different!
There are two main reasons for this change in my attitude and enjoyment of SUMMER. One, is that Hubby and I planted a serious garden this year, and the old maxim is absolutely true: “one who plants a garden, plants happiness!” I love making tomato sandwiches for lunch with our own homegrown tomatoes! I love picking sweet pea blooms and putting them in a little mug in our kitchen window. I love watching the hummingbirds that frequent our Black & Blue Salvia! But the other important reason that I am loving this summer is that I am now more physically able to spend time outside and better able to handle the heat challenges of the season.
At age 67, I am becoming an athlete. Last year, when I became an official senior citizen, I signed up for an exercise program 3 days a week at the gym down the street. That exercise class has been a life changer for me in that I am so much more active and fit than I’ve been in years and years. Then, 6 months ago I found a “running buddy.” Actually, my buddy runs and I walk fast. “Power walking,” I call it. I’m not trained as a true speed walker, but I’ve always enjoyed walking and I have long legs and can set a pretty fast pace. My running buddy is an 81 year old athlete and former marathon runner, and is a wonderful, inspiring mentor. We run/walk together 2 mornings a week, and it’s become a great partnership! We signed up for 5 different 5k races this summer, and our “training” for those races has been very successful. So when I describe myself as “becoming an athlete,” I say that with a lot of pride and a growing sense of accomplishment at my efforts to become more fit.
So both gardening and exercise have brought a lot of happiness into my life this year and made this summer one of the nicest in years and years.
The first book of my summer reading was The Rose Girls, by Victoria Connelly. It was a sweet romance with a love of roses and gardening at the heart. It was a perfect book to take to the beach, or just enjoy on the front porch. The story is of three sisters who live in a crumbling old manor house in England. Raising and selling roses has been the family business for generations, but after the death of their very difficult mother, who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the three young women are left to deal with the emotional trauma of their upbringing. At the same time, they are faced with insurmountable costs of fixing and maintaining the medieval manor house while trying to keep their rose business afloat. The three sisters redefine their relationship with each other and find the healing power of family.
It’s a sweet story, but my favorite parts of the book were all the references to roses! So here is a linked list of some of the roses that were mentioned. The links will take you to sites with photos and information on each rose.
- La Reina Victoria
- Comte de Chambord
- Madame Pierre Oger
- Gertrude Jekyll Climbing Rose
- Celeste: Alba Rose
- Penelope: Hybrid Musk Rose
- Madame Isaac Pereire
- Honorine de Brabant
- Summer Blush
“All thoughts of finances were forgotten as she gazed at the perfect bud. That was the effect roses had on you — they filled your head with beauty so that there was little room for anything else…”
Today in the garden…
Our Hydrangeas are blooming in front of the porch. I love them even though they’re not nearly as lush as they’ve been in the last few years. They are scheduled to be moved or removed because we have some major work to do on the front porch (one corner has sunk…), but that project has been postponed, so I can simply enjoy them for another season.
My husband has plans and is gathering materials to put together a drip irrigation watering system for our vegetable garden. We decided to go ahead and plant even though the watering system isn’t ready for this year. It’s a lot of hand watering, but I enjoy it. There are always neighbors walking by and I enjoy our brief chats. Yesterday, I had a wonderful helper who also enjoys watering things by hand– The Grandboy! He and I spent some lovely time outdoors, and he enjoyed watering some of the garden boxes and all of the flowers in front of the house. Summer bliss!
Last year we planted a garden patch full of Sunspot Sunflowers. We, and all the neighbors, loved them! People would stop and take photos, and we got to know a lot more of our neighbors because they would stop and talk with us about the sunflowers before continuing on with their daily walks. We didn’t plant the sunflowers again this year because we are preparing to turn that garden patch into our ‘butterfly garden.’ But the sunflowers weren’t done with us! We discovered that some of them reseeded themselves at the edge of the garden, so I’ve been watering them and loving this tenacious little patch of sunflowers.
We love our kitchen window. It’s a large greenhouse window over the sink, and we love standing there looking out to watch the birds and the weather. We even keep a pair of binoculars in the drawer next to the sink! It certainly makes doing dishes a very pleasant activity! I usually post photos taken looking out from that window but, just for fun, I thought I’d post a photo looking at the window from the outside.