While the start of summer was on the cool side, it geared up pretty fast to hot! The first heat wave came and went (and it was blistering hot) before temps dropped to a more comfortable level. Now, only days later, we are back to hot with another heatwave around the corner.
Most of the plants are doing well, although the smaller perennials planted this spring need a little extra care. The few new shrubs I planted this spring are coming along nicely and they only need the occasional watering. Most of the annuals are doing well too, but a bit of additional water is appreciated by these plants, so I break out the hose in the early morning or early evening to help each one along.
It is interesting to see how the hell strip, that bit of garden between sidewalk and street, has changed from spring flowers to summer blooms. In spring it was a vision of blue thanks to the perennial flax which I had sown two years earlier. Now the perennial flax is mostly done and the Liatris (also known as blazing star or gayfeather) has taken over. I had sprinkled some cosmos seeds among them in spring and now the hell strip is a vision of mostly purple with a sprinkling of orange and yellows. Next year I will triple the amount of cosmos Bright Light as the combination is stunning!
Each morning I check the window wells for frogs and toads. After a rainy night I liberated six small frogs, but the other morning I caught myself a nice big leopard frog. Aptly named after that large wild cat, they share the same patterns of spots. They are one of my favorite type of frogs; once they get used to me I can work around them. This big frog was no different. After I released it back in the pond it obligingly posed for me while a took a few pictures. Then, the other day a large dragonfly landed on the inside of the awning while I was taking a break and reading a book. I watched it for a while and then decided to see how close I could get to it. I put my hand out and it actually stepped right on it! I called for the under-gardener to bring me the camera and again I was able to take a few pictures. When I was done I put the dragonfly on a branch, where it sat for a while before finally flying off into the great blue yonder.
Each evening I plop myself down into the comfiest chair in the garden, which by then is finally in the shade, eat some fruit and read my book. I watch the fish frolic in the pond, catching them jumping out of the water, or more likely, hearing the splash and watching the ripples in the pond where they re-entered. The other day I saw something rustle in the grasses surrounding the pond. It’s… a chipmunk; the first one I have ever seen in my garden. After that first sighting, we start to see it all over the garden, running around the rain barrel, sitting on one of the rocks, scurrying around plants. I have not yet witnessed its destructive behavior; digging up bulbs, pulling out small plants, so, for now, this little critter is welcome here. This garden is becoming a home to many small critters, birds and insects and it truly deserves to be called a backyard (and front yard) wildlife habitat.