Saturday, June 18, 2016

June Feels Summery

Summer sunshine means butterflies are starting to show up here in Robin's Nest. I haven't seen too many yet, but imagine my excitement when I spotted my first monarch of the season recently. Not only that, but she posed so sweetly for me on this orange butterfly weed right next to the lavender. I'll have to check to see if she left me any eggs.

The calendar says it isn't summer yet, but we all know that June is when summer starts. All the cool weather is gone, and every day is hot and muggy. We are already begging for rain! That doesn't normally start in June, so it looks like it's going to a hot and dry summer. Our summers usually are very dry, but every year, I wish we'd have a rainy season instead.

I've already started the daily garden hose rodeo, which I really dislike. I always swear that I garden with drought tolerant plants, and I really do have many. But in May and June there are still seedlings to baby, and containers getting started. These are the things that keep me wrangling that darned hose.

Despite the hot and dry weather, the garden glows on. By the end of May and the beginning of June, it seems to be a time when something new blooms every day.

Roses usually peak here in late May and early June. I do have problems with what I believe are sawfly larvae eating holes in the leaves every year. I'm all about organic, so mostly I just tolerate the holes. But I wish there was a solution. I'm sure I'm the only one who notices though, because the holes are small and the flowers are pretty enough to overshadow it.

One of the best parts of summer here are my patio evenings. I spend many nights out around town with all of my musical activities, but when I'm not singing, I'm thrilled to stay home and enjoy the "veranda" after dinner. My tools are my phone, my iPad, my glass of iced tea, and my camera. Some nights I swap the iced tea out for a glass of wine. My companions are usually the birds who call my yard their home.

This is the first year I've had any birds in my mostly decorative birdhouse. The babies are large enough to come out and fly a bit, but I'm not sure how many there are. They are a noisy bunch! Mom and Dad bird are constantly flying back and forth with tidbits for them. These are house sparrows, and not generally known to be desirable. But I don't mind having them around.

It's all about the flowers here though. You know I just can't resist filling my garden with as many flowers as I can fit. The goal is to attract butterflies and hummingbirds with most of these blooms. But if the flowers don't attract them, that's okay. They can still stay here.

Thanks for coming back to see me here in Robin's Nest. I haven't done very well at keeping up with posts, but then again, it's that time of year when all my spare time is spend outside working on the yard. Housework can wait, but garden season is just too short to waste. And on that note, I'm heading back outside!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Proverbial May Flowers

We've had the April showers, now we have the May flowers. Well, we've actually had May showers and flowers. It's a jungle out there! All this rain has made for some lush greenery. I spent all day trying to rein in the enthusiasm of some of my beauties. But it's a good problem to have.

I tend to "brag" that my plantings have filled in so much that weeds don't have much room to sneak in. Ha! Somehow they manage to find those few little bare spots. Isn't it funny how the weeds manage to hide themselves from us till they are a foot high? How do they do that? I'm trying to take it slow, and do just a bit at a time.

The good part is that the veggie garden weeds are much easier to pull. Hubby built new raised beds in the fall, so we just filled them with fresh soil this spring, so the dirt is light and fluffy yet. Weeds can be pulled with no effort at all. It's been cool and rainy this year, so the spring vegetables have been growing like crazy. I haven't had much luck growing spinach in the past, but this year, wow! Lettuce and radishes have done well too, so there has been plenty of fresh, crunchy salad to enjoy. For some reason, my sugar snap peas did not come up this year, so I replanted. They are finally starting to peek out, but now it's getting warm enough that they may not do as well. I did put in the summer heat lovers a few days ago. Now bring on the warmth!

The spring bulbs have all faded now, and the regular perennials are starting to pop. Every time I turn around, another one is starting its show. It's wonderful to see.

There are still a few flowering trees and shrubs to enjoy. Are you familiar with the Chinese Fringe tree? I just love this one! It smells like jasmine in bloom, has nice green glossy leaves all summer, and then the leaves turn a beautiful golden color in the fall.

It's also the start of rose season here in Ohio. These Zepherine Drouhin roses are thornless, and intensely fragrant. I think this must be what heaven smells like.

We had a late frost this year, but I didn't fall for it. I stuck with mid May for my planting of warm weather annuals, There were many people out covering up their tomato plants and things like that. All I had to do was tuck a few containers into the garage.

I've had a lot of bird visitors in the yard this year. I often say that I don't feed the birds. Well, I do feed the hummingbirds. And I like to put out a finch sock full of nyjer seeds, because the goldfinches are so cheerful and bright. And now I have bluebirds hanging around my garden, so I thought I should put out mealworms for those too. I have a birdbath, of course. And there are some kind of birds in my birdhouse for the first time. Maybe I should admit that I feed the birds, huh? After all, I'm named after a bird.

What does May look like in your neighborhood? Here in Robin's Nest, it's glorious!