It's hard to tell from the picture above, but the white streaks in the right of the picture are actually steady streams of the rain that fell all day yesterday.
I was hoping to get into the vegetable garden yesterday to till up a section again so that I could plant tomatoes. The tomato plants have been sitting on my patio for over week and are looking pretty puny right now. Of course, even if I had planted them they would have needed a blanket yesterday--the temperature went from the 80's on Monday to 50 degrees Tuesday. I still have two trays of flowers as well waiting to be planted. And, believe it or not, I still have to buy more plants! There are still some empty holes in some of my containers that need to be filled in, and the new roadside flowerbed is not finished either.
And once all the planting is done, of course the weeding must be done. All this rain has caused them to grow by leaps and bounds. I have been pulling the obvious weeds--some sort of grass that may be the ribbon grass some of you have described, dandelions, thistles, and a persistent vine I thought was bindweed, but thankfully isn't. My problem, though, with weeding this time of year is not knowing sometimes what is a weed and what isn't. I was looking at these "weeds" when they first popped up in the front of my main flowerbed, debating whether to pull them or not, and thought they looked like something else. Sure enough, Beckie confirmed my suspicions: they're actually echinacea seedlings!
And while I have been complaining about all the rain, my plants have loved it. I have killed more astilbes than I can remember, but this one, planted just last year, looks like it might be a keeper. Astilbes need lots of moisture, and I tend to forget to water them during the hot, dry spells of summer. I am resolving right now to do a better job this year of keeping this beauty alive.
Too often I am a glass half-empty kind of person. As Carol of May Dreams said in an earlier post, it's good to sit back sometimes and think about what you have done rather than what you have to do. Now that I look at all I have done this spring, I feel much better.
And it's not just bloggers who are such nice people. Last week I was searching for a particular plant when a total stranger also looking at the annuals struck up a conversation with me and recommended a couple of her favorite annuals that stand up well to Illinois summers. Later that afternoon Beckie and I were standing in the check-out line at Meijer's when the woman behind us started commenting on the cleome in my cart. We began to talk, and not only did she give me some advice about growing the cleome (it doesn't like fertilizer), but it turned out she belonged to the local chapter of the Master Gardeners. By the time Beckie and I left, we had plants as well as tickets to the Master Gardeners' Garden Walk to be held in June.
And finally, last week Beckie brought me a gift when it wasn't even my birthday--this tool that I've seen on so many other blogs. Sure, she only paid a dollar for it at the Dollar Store, but it's the thought I appreciate. It's amazingly substantial for that price, and I've used it so much already I don't know how I got along without one before.