July 9, 2017


My California poppies went ballistic! Yes, really. California poppies use a technique called “ballistichory” to scatter seeds away from the parent plant. After the seeds develop, the seed pods dry out. This causes them to shrink. Shrinkage creates mechanical tension. Eventually the pods burst open. The release of tension flings the seed in all directions.

I didn’t realize California poppies were ballistichores, but when I looked at the tray where my poppy pods were drying I saw that a number of them had opened on their own. Tiny black seeds were all over my dining room table! I covered the tray with a sieve, but the gaps were still large enough for the some seeds to escape.

Now I have a paper napkin spread over the sieve so air can flow while keeping the seeds in a convenient place. It’s true what they say — you can learn something new every day!


Our unusually hot weather in late June had my lawn drying out earlier than usual. When the forecast went over 100 degrees, I not only gave my yard extra water, but passed on mowing my lawn. I hoped the taller grass would protect the roots and keep the lawn healthier. I’m pleased to say that it worked, although my growing blackberries did take some scalding.

We haven’t started our pergola and fence yet, but the summer is still young. I’m also ramping up for some revisions in Bed 5, the south facing that gets the most sun.


The garlic was all falling over, so I pulled it and let is dry on a shaded rack for a few days. It’s now braided and hanging up to continue drying. I did reserve two nice, large heads to plant for next year. Unfortunately, since I lost my journal, I have no record of what variety the garlic is. I do like it, though, which is why I’m replanting from this year’s crop.

Cucumbers, melons and squashes are blooming vigorously. I’ve picked my first two cucumbers, a Sumter and a Lemon. They taste wonderful in salads. I have many more Lemons growing, and even a few melons.  Pumpkins and winter squash have bloomed by not set fruit as yet.

Lots of tomatoes coming on, though they’re all still green. And I have enough of mt wax beans to freeze my first half-pint. Don’t know if California poppy seed can overwinter and sprout the next year, so I’m taking care to save a few as I go.

Indoor Forest

Things are looking a bit thin up in my den, where I usually sprout stuff. The spider plant and epiphyllum are hanging outside for the season, and the Christmas cactus is down in a sunny window. My best opportunity to dust and sweep the sprouting area. Soon as I do that, I have seed to start Mexican Hats and Butterfly Weed (a.k.a. Milkweed) to set out in fall.


Last week I had a big thrill — a hummingbird was checking out my Larkspur and Gloriosa daisies! I’ve never had a hummingbird, although I know there are native ones. It was too far away to see the markings, but it could have been a young adult looking for good territory. It showed itself twice in one day, but I haven’t seen it since. Must have cruised on. This inspired me to upgrade my offerings for hummingbirds, so perhaps the next one will decide to stay.

I’ve also seen a Tiger swallowtail this week, plus innumerable Oil bees, and some Gray Hairstreaks doing aerobatics above my Coneflowers. Good times!

Until next week, make sure you actually relax a bit in your garden!


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