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June, June, June!

The garden is glorious, so of course I am going out of town for a week at the height of its glory. On the one hand, I am sorry to miss it, on the other hand, I can pretend that was the one week when it all came together and looked totally magnificent, and I just happened to come back when the wild quinine has fallen down on the verbena and the salvia needs deadheading.

Ah, annuals...

The steps off the back deck are being engulfed by basil and nasturtiums. I have finally succeeded in growing nasturtiums from seed this year, in a couple of places. (In other places, they are a spindly spray of sad little pallid leaves, but by god, some of ‘em are the sea of foaming variegated leaves and glorious flowers that they OUGHT to be.)

The bee balm redeemed itself this year, and has reminded me why I planted it.

Most of the flowers are just on the cusp of opening, so of course I’ll probably miss the one glorious week that they were all open at once. Damn these June cons…! But the hummingbird is happy with what we’ve got.

I luuuuuv you, flower...

The shrubby St. John’s wort bloomed really FAST this year–instead of one flower a day for a month, it was like ten flowers a day for two weeks. But it made the bugs happy while it lasted.

Meanwhile, the Giant Joe Pye Weed has lived up to its name–two ten foot stalks and one that’s got to be pushing fourteen feet tall. I have had to tie multiple tomato stakes together to keep it anything like upright, as it wilts madly and photo-tropes aggressively. It is an ungainly, ridiculous, completely unaesthetic addition to the bed. Needless to say, I love it madly.

Having the pond in the backyard is marvelous. I just watched an enormous black beetle swim from the horsetail to the gravel slope. It seemed to be quite a good swimmer for a beetle, and it obvious knew where it was going—made straight for the beach, no flailing or swimming in circles.

Except there was a frog in the way.

Frog was about half again the size of the beetle—small frog, large beetle, obviously. The frog freaked out and lunged at the beetle, biting at it. The beetle was knocked back, but continued on, undaunted. The frog attacked it again. (I don’t think it was trying to eat it—it’d be like me trying to eat a German shepherd in one gulp.) The beetle did not seem particularly injured by this assault, but clearly it was pissed, because the frog’s next assault met a savage pincer attack that knocked the frog back. The frog leapt into the water and went to sulk in the horsetails, while the beetle finally reached the shore, climbed out, and trundled off into the woods.

Kevin says he wants me to dig a pond visible for HIS window now, because it’s so damn cool out that. I can’t blame him, but that’s a heckuva lot of digging…


Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

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Next year, you can have our bamboo to tie up the Giant Joe Pye - 15' tall is easy, if you can figure out how to get it to your place. I've walked a 30' pole over to jason0x21, but it's a lot farther to your place...

We can fit it in her car. Piece of cake.

ps: pretty, pretty, pretty pictures...

Thanks so much for posting the pics and your commentary - almost as good as being there.

Nice, vivid nasturtiums... and monarda is a particular favorite of mine, though I don't have terribly good luck at getting it to grow - my soil is AWFUL. Perhaps I should order a few cubic yards of compost...

And then you and Ursula can exchange compost stories.

I recommend a compost pile. It can be as simple as a pile o' stuff bordered by cinderblocks (turn regularly with a shovel), or as complicated as one of those giant plastic drums with handles for easy turning. Just keep it moist and toss any leftover plant matter in it. Grass clippings are especially good.

After quite some time has passed, you'll have soil to die for. And you'll occasionally get some surprises like the tomato plant we have growing out by the butterfly bush.

Now I want pesto...

I was totally unorganized this year and did not plant basil. Which is ok, because pinching it back* constantly is more work than I care to lavish on plants, these days.

*If you let it flower it gets all leggy and stops producing ginormous useful leaves.

Honestly, I don't pinch, and I've never been short of basil availability....if anything, there's too MUCH of it! But it may depend on the cultivar.

This is MN--we may get substandard basil here. ;-)

OH! Well, yeah, my growing season for basil runs from late March through early November...

plant indentifacation FTW!

Ah! Bee Balm!

We have a patch of it growing in the backyard because I was inspired last year by your blog to go in search of native plants, but the marker disappeared and I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was. But our flowers/leaves match the ones in your pictures, so thanks for solving that mystery :}

Ours is also quite happy, and approximately, oh... quadruple the size it was when I planted it. Maybe it'll take over that whole back flower bed.

Re: plant indentifacation FTW!

Bee balm WILL take over the whole flower bed, given a chance--I yank a lot out in spring, and some years it's meh. Occasionally, though, it's spectacular.

Hey, you digged your pond, he can dig his. You can be a consultant :)

Also, I think you should get wee deck chairs and umbrellas for your pond "beach."

We're moving this week, and your pictures have me so excited to get started on the new house! I went looking for resources, and found that my county actually has a native plant guide as well as the contact info for nurseries that specialize in native plants... They make it so easy! Which is great.

Oh, hey, awesome! Good luck with the new place--and depending on where you are, don't be afraid to plant in fall. Lotta plants do really well planted in fall, and nurseries are usually offering plants that are past bloom at bargain prices.

Love, love, love seeing pictures of your garden! It's really cool to be able to put a flower and leaf to the names given. I still want to see a picture of the pond though!

I want PondCam so I can spend time watching the pond in action. :D

Watch out for that beebalm, it will destroy everything you hold dear take over your garden! While smelling delightful!

I have had to tie multiple tomato stakes together to keep it anything like upright, as it wilts madly and photo-tropes aggressively.

There can be entertaining results to not staking things. At one point in the life cycle of my mom's garden, she was letting the pink-to-white strain of cosmos run loose. A thunderstorm in early May or so knocked over every one of of the three-foot tall stalks flat, to which it responded "ROIGHT THEN!" and sent up secondary stalks every four inches... that all reached three foot, and burst into blooms. Fairly spectacular.

Alas, it responded to the last August thunderstorm that knocked all those flat by simply going to seed; and since then, she's gone on to a more domesticated garden. (Which took three years of weeding feral cosmos....)

As a side note: WHEE! A pack of reddish NastyUrchins for pseudo-Victorian inspiration! Is it Baker Street Basil? =)

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