Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Not only was I out in the noonday sun, but I was hard at it. Just as one doesn't realize one has been in the sun too long until it's too late, I didn't realize I had worked too hard until late in the evening, when hoisting my butt off the couch became a major endeavor. This morning I feel about 80% recovered, though. Some gentle yoga should release the remaining aches and pains.

(A brief paean to yoga: If it weren't for the yoga classes I have been attending, I would not be able to do a fraction of the yard work I have accomplished this year, particularly the digging. I highly recommend yoga for improving ones strength and flexibility.)

I attacked the Queen Anne's lace and thistle with vim and vigor, concentrating on the larger plants which were starting to bloom. Because of the amount of foliage I removed, the 3B garden now looks ravaged. Soon the coneflower will be bursting forth, though, which should distract the eye.

Earlier this season, I planted black eyed Susan and tickseed. The former is just kind of sitting there, presumably setting down roots. The latter is doing the same, but also blooming.

I'm glad I surrounded this area with chicken wire, as I have come across rudbeckia I planted in previous years, or rather the remnants of those plants. The bunnies must really like the stuff.

This astilbe is a long-suffering resident of my yard.

I have tried it here and there, with little success. It is supposed to like shade, but I guess it's possible to get too much of a good thing. It is getting more sun than usual this year, and is responding with some nice color.

Heuchera, aka coral bells, is not known for its flowers, but it does bloom.

Another shade lover, the dark foliage provides colorful contrast to the hostas.

The yucca flower stalk has broken free from the asplenifolia.

Its petals are already dropping.

On the south side of the house I have a fair amount of painted daisy of the 'Clara Curtis' variety.

It's not really a daisy per se, but a member of the chrysanthemum family.

There are a few shasta daisies mingled with the monarda.

This bee balm is known as 'Fireball' and is mildew resistant. Ordinarily, the bees cannot resist it, but so far this year, the blossoms are sadly lacking their insect companions.

I read an article yesterday about how not only is the honeybee population in danger, but all pollinators are struggling to survive, even hummingbirds. This tragic fact is evident in my own backyard. Last year hummingbirds and butterflies were daily visitors but I have seen very few of either this year. No one knows for sure what the problem is, but likely culprits are loss of habitat and overuse of pesticides and herbicides.

Ordinarily, my yard is not totally pesticide/herbicide free. I have been known to apply weed and feed on the lawn and wage battle with mulberries and Canada thistle using Round Up. But this year I just did not get around to the lawn treatments, and every time I thought about spraying weeds, a breeze would spring up, leaving me fearful of herbicide drift. My lawn looks a bit raggedy and is not nearly as lush as it usually is, but it is basically green, so I am not going to worry about it too much. I'll take care of the thistle by pulling it and using newspapers as a weed barrier beneath the mulch. It's more work than spraying; I don't know about you, but I can always use the exercise.

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