Tarzan naps while I garden.
Today is also Garden Muse Day held on the first of every month. I haven't had much time to think of or find an appropriate poem for June, so here is my feeble parody of a familiar nursery rhyme:
Little Prairie Blue, come bring your hoes
The crabgrass is in the veggies, and the bindweed in the roses.
Where is the gardener while the weeds do creep?
She's on her cool couch, fast asleep!
Pretty lame, I know, but can you think of a flower that rhymes with hoe?? Besides, quite frankly, I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately. Between the heat and frequent rainy days, I have had trouble getting everything done in the garden. My typical early morning routine of coffee and blogging has been cut short in order to get an early start in the garden before the sun's rays get too strong. Still, after a few hours, the sweat is running into my eyes, and my knees and arms ache from bending and digging. After an early lunch, I collapse on the couch and spend the afternoon in the comfort of air conditioning. With another birthday soon approaching, I'm beginning to wonder--am I getting too old to garden??
Besides the weather, another obstacle to my own gardening is trying to put in as many MG volunteer hours as possible. The past three Saturday mornings have found me in the Idea Garden, including two stints planting the Annual Color Garden assigned to the new interns. In the photo above you can see only two of my friends in the front area, but what you don't see are the other 20 or so in the rest of the annual garden on this very hot day. Wouldn't it be nice to have this much help at home?! Then there are the hours spent manning the help line in the Extension Office, where at least it's cool--too cool, in fact--but where I am learning how much I still have to learn.
Meanwhile, the pot ghetto in front of my garage door keeps growing as I keep buying more plants . . . I haven't been able to find my favorite Persian Shield in any of the garden centers this spring, but I have found lots of other plants I didn't even know I needed. I have many containers to fill, but this is one I don't need to worry about. This dianthus has been coming back in the same pot--and the same soil--for three years now! I should plant such a persistent flower in the garden, but I hate to upset it when it seems so happy being neglected. And somebody should tell those pansies it's too hot to bloom:)
I have been a woman on a mission . . . a mission proceeding at a snail's pace. While the frequent rain showers have kept me from getting all the plants in the ground, they have enabled the weeds to grow by leaps and bounds. I have kept my nose literally to the ground, too busy to even take photos of the changes in the garden. The chives, which along with the parsley survived the winter, sported lovely lavender blooms the past two weeks, but I didn't think to take out my camera until they had faded to a dull shade.
There are new blooms appearing each week, many of them new to the garden this year, which have not gotten the attention they deserve as I hoe and plant. Inspired by Chicago gardens last spring, several types of allium were added last fall, including these, which I believe are Allium Roseum. The catalog described their blooms as a dainty pink, but these are pure white.
Definitely pink, however, is this surprise bloomer--Penstemon X. It's a little hard to see its bell-shaped blooms, I know, with the PPPP competing for attention in the back. Both were gifts from Gail on a visit to her garden last October--thank you, Gail! I remember finding a small bare corner in the butterfly garden last fall to quickly plant them in, but I think the Penstemon deserves a spot all its own for next year.
Another Penstemon, 'Husker Red,' I think, is a passalong from Beckie. I can see this one is going to pop up more frequently each year, as the one I received from Beckie has now turned into two plants. In fact, the Butterfly and Friends garden is full of lots of re-seeders this year as well as many surprises. A post on this garden will be written as soon as I have time . . . Isn't it ironic that there was plenty of time for blogging all winter long when the ground was covered with nothing but snow, but now that there is so much going on in the garden, there isn't enough time to show it all?
I have a bad habit of stressing myself out, with self-imposed deadlines and worrying about the loss of stamina I once had. I realized after looking at my posts from last year, that I am actually ahead of schedule compared to this time last year. I need to take a deep breath and remember that gardening is supposed to be fun and relaxing. I need to return to that mindset where I look around the garden and simply enjoy what I see, like the return of the bees, rather than see what still has to be done.
One thing that has definitely brought me joy the last two weeks is the re-appearance of butterflies. After the scarcity of butterflies we had last year, it is so reassuring to see them returning in large numbers this summer.
The Red Admirals are particularly numerous, covering their favorite purple blooms of the Nepeta here or the Salvia 'May Night' above (shown with the bumblebee).
They have cavorted about, literally dancing through the air and providing another hot-afternoon diversion for Toby and Sophie--"Butterfly television":)
But the most exciting of all?--The hummingbirds have returned! I think this little lady was so glad that I finally got around to putting out the feeders that she stayed just long enough for me to take some photos. This is about as good a photo as my point and shoot camera will allow, but I'm happy.
Yes, I think it's going to be a good summer!
Gardening requires lots of water--most of it in the form of perspiration.
For other musings on this first day of June, please visit our hostess, the talented Carolyn Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.