Monday, July 4, 2011

A Good Summer For Flowers...And Weeds...And Bugs

There's a lot of color and green in my yard right now from all the rain this spring. Some of my favorite plants are showing off for Independence Day. Luscious roses with blooms of yellow, red, coral, and magenta create heavenly fragrances. Standard orange naturalized daylillies are scattered around the front and back of our house, and the hybrid ones are blooming vigorously in shades of peach, bright yellow, dusty rose, plum, and burgundy. Wildflowers like black-eyed susan, queen anne's lace, purple coneflower, butterfly weed, and yarrow are colorful and keep the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds happy.
I enjoy these perennials that come back every year without much fuss. All I do to them is water and feed. And of course, weed around them. The rains have resulted in healthy green leaves and spectacular blooms on the flowers but the weeds are killing me. I'm a fairly lazy gardener in the summertime. I get all fired up in spring and love to move, divide, and plant new flowers. I want to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Come summer, if I don't get out early in the morning, that's it. I don't mind hard work or getting dirty...I just mind high humidity with temps over 90 degrees, and being hot and sweaty.

The thing about my yard is that it's not manicured or perfectly landscaped. That's just not my style. It's a brick ranch home out in the country with natural looking plantings tucked under trees, between shrubs, and around the perimeter of the house. If a volunteer plant pops up, that's where it stays unless it's in the path of the mower, then I'll move it somewhere safe. Grass and weeds creep around and jump right in with the flowers, even though I mulch with pine needles from our trees. And once they get going, it's hard to get rid of weeds, especially pesky bermuda grass and wild ginger vine.

My annual July garden enemy is the Japanese beetle. Those tiny beasts are devouring my roses and hollyhocks, apple trees and okra plants. After spraying with Sevin, I have to say that I really love seeing the horrible bugs lying dead on their backs with their little feet stuck up in the air. Unfortunately we seem to have a never-ending supply of them, because more appear a few days after spraying, so my bug battle continues.

I hope you're enjoying the long holiday weekend. If you want to help weed or spray for bugs, I'll be outside as soon as this morning thunderstorm passes.  It's really not that bad once I get started. The satisfaction of seeing these gorgeous blooms is worth the occasional aggravation of tending to them on a hot July day.

Useful Notion: Plant more perennials, bulbs, hosta, and flowering shrubs for less work in the garden. Mulch well, and scatter around a few clumps of annuals like zinnas and geraniums to add bright color and texture to your flower beds.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~Lindley Karstens



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