Before leaving for vacation, I noticed that one of my arborvitae did not look very healthy, but I figured whatever was bothering it could wait until I got back.
Well, maybe not.
A little sleuthing on the Internet revealed the source of the problem: bagworms!
Besides being hard on the plant, these little critters are really gross. The bags look like part of the plant, but they sway and wriggle. My son helped me pick as many bags as possible from not only the stricken plant but its neighbors as well. Then we burned them in the fire bowl.
So add bagworm plucking to my daily chores. Ugh!
While we were doing bagworm duty, we got the chance to observe some wildlife. A clearwing hummingbird moth flitted about the catmint. Two real hummingbirds looked like they were either battling for territory or else executing a synchronized mating dance. Mama wren scolded us non-stop, as our presence was interrupting her babies' feeding schedule. Inside the pea fence (there is a gaping hole), a baby bunny huddled in fear while my son picked snap peas. And Betsy got her head stuck under the shed while investigating whatever it is that lives there.
I had to dig her out with a trowel.
A stroll around the yard reveals that the daylilies are still going strong.
The July-blooming hostas are in full-bloom, as one would expect.
These sunflowers are volunteers from scattered birdseed.
The butterfly bush is finally blooming, so I am looking forward to more butterflies.
This crocosmia adds a nice splash of red to the 3B garden.
I think of chrysanthemums as fall flowers, but these always start coming on early.
More surprise hollyhocks are blooming.
The purple fountain grass is already sending up a seed head.
The sea oats have had heads for a while, but they are difficult to photograph. In the course of the summer and fall, they change colors, from summer green to autumn bronze.
A few 'Moonbeam' coreopsis survived another winter. I really like their delicate flowers but they don't seem to be very hardy, which is why I have replaced them with 'Jethro Tull'.
It did not rain at all while we were on vacation. Some of my recent transplants looked a little parched, but I think they will all make it. It is raining this evening. I'm hoping for a good soaker so I can pull weeds tomorrow.
P.S. We ate the first tomatoes from the garden today, the so-called grape tomatoes - they look more like cherries to me.