July 31, 2-14

My sunflowers are like a miniature city at this time of year. The sunflowers themselves are skyscrapers with many levels. Honeybees, native bees and bumblebees zoom from blossom to blossom. Wasps and hoverflies cruise the leaves in search of prey, while Goldfinches perch on ripe seed heads. Green beans form a more somber tower, but one that reaches higher toward the garage roof. Down below, tomatoes and sweet peppers host their own small flowers and clusters of fruit. Grasshoppers jump when you walk across the grass.

We know these insects live among us, but their world is usually invisible to us. They’re so tiny, we don’t even see them. It’s amazing, all the same, to see this colorful tiny city grow up in the midst of my larger suburban neighborhood.

Very hot weather continues for us. My blackberries have suffered significant sun damage. Many individual cells are whitish and dead. My plan was to boil them down for puree, so maybe it won’t matter. It will just take me longer to gather enough berries for my project.

I also have cleared the old, leggy violas and snapdragons from Bed 2, where they have livened up the asparagus. There’s such a bit of space, I just may look for some sort of sculpture to put in there.

I set out the first baby “chicks” from my Hen and Chicks. How tiny they look! More are coming free from the plant every day. Some I’ll add to the existing pot and some I’ll put into new pots.

Tassles are appearing on my Golden Bantam corn. However, I see no silk. Come on, corn, don’t disappoint me!

My first summer squash was a green patty-pan. It was delicious grilled on a stick along with onion, tomato and sweet pepper slices. The beets will soon be ready for pickling or perhaps a chilled salad. My first cucumber also is ready to be plucked.

In addition to maggots getting all my onions, it appears my radishes are all infested, too. Next year, perhaps, I’ll need to keep floating row cover on those all the time.

This week I noted a new friend in my garden, a Gray Hairstreak butterfly. I don’t know if there are food plants for them in my yard, or if they just like the flowers, but they seem to hang around my blackberries the most.

Goldfinches have returned as the sunflowers ripen. They chatter quite a lot as they fly, so I can hear them coming and going. Their songs are wonderful to hear in the evenings.

Until next week, keep cool in your garden!


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