Summer?? How’d THAT happen?

Sun halo

What is that glowing orb up there???

Well, it’s official. Summer has arrived. For most, anyway. Summer doesn’t really arrive in the Pacific Northwest until July 5th, but that’s another story. But since the sun arrived the other day, complete with rainbow necklace, I guess I have to admit it.

Problem is, I’m not ready!! Our spring here is so darned non-committal that just about the time I think it might really be here, it’s summer, and I’m blinking, thinking, Wait, what? So here I am, having to say goodbye to spring when I barely had time to enjoy it. It’s a good thing I took pictures, so I can prove at least the plant life thought it was spring. So let me introduce you to some of my friends and family:

Callas

The Carnivorous Calla Lilies

These suckers are so big that after a rain bugs drown in them. If it’s a good bug, I’ve been known to try to rescue them. If it’s an earwig, it’s on its own. Ugh.

momma strawberry

The mother of all strawberries

This, my friends, is a plant to be revered. She is indeed, the mother of all strawberries. Purchased on a whim nearly ten years ago, this little plant has provided children that have filled every planter I have. So for $7.99 I got eleventy-two hundred plants. Think I’m kidding? Here:

IMG_0132

All in the family….

Every bit of green you see in this planter here, and the little pink flowers, are all kids from that momma strawberry. I could fill every square inch of my yard with this within a year. And yes, they really bear tiny strawberries. I have it on good authority, meaning the birds that always get to them before I do, that they’re very tasty.

Now this little oddity looks like it would be happier out in the Mojave Desert somewhere, yet it seems surprisingly happy here. I bought it simply for the anachronistic look of it. Because that’s the way I am.

poker plant

Took a wrong turn at Vegas…

And now we come to one of my favorites, the creature I fondly call “Cousin Itt.” (if you’re too young to remember the Addams Family, look him up) As usual, he needs a haircut, but for now he’s so…fluffy I’m happy to just walk around him.

cousin itt

Get away from me with those clippers!!

And finally, the most productive members of the family, or at least so I hope. There is only one place I can grow tomatoes well here, and that’s my front porch. It’s sheltered from the wind, and a good 5-10 degrees warmer than anyplace else around the house. So here they are, and here they shall stay, and if anyone is bothered by produce growing in their path to the front door, then they probably aren’t people I’d want to open the door to anyway.

IMG_0129

Whaddayoulookinat??

So there you have it, my sad tribute to a spring we barely experienced. You’ll noticed I ignored the grass. That’s because I’m the one who has to mow it, and I feel little affection for it at the moment. I’m probably the only person around anxiously awaiting its death by summer heat. (no, not DEAD dead, just done for the year.) Parking that lawnmower for a few months is one of the happiest moments of my year. But alas, not yet.

So how about you? Gardener, or brown thumb? Ornamentals or edibles? Try new things every year, or stick with the old reliables? Experiment to see what you can possibly grow in a container?

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9 thoughts on “Summer?? How’d THAT happen?

  1. Trish Jensen says:

    Justine:
    In some planters I need the old tried and true because they’re in very shady areas around my house, so it’s good old impatiens and begonias. But in the sunniest spots I try new to me plants every year, just to see if I’m going to like them. Last year I tried growing my tomatoes and jalapenos in those upside down planters with limited success. Some of the tomatoes developed a kind of rot that made them worthless. The peppers were hardier.

    Also in one big planter I begin in the middle with a chili pepper plant, then surround it with flowers. Actually looks beautiful because as the chili peppers redden, it actually looks from a distance like a flowering plant, not a vegetable.

    Also another thing this year: In the pots that line either side of my driveway I plant at least one or two herbs among the flowers. So I can walk outside and cut the basil and oregano I need for a dish. They’re also amazingly fragrant. Hard to go back to dried in winter when fresh cut are so much more delicious. Have lavender in almost every pot, because it’s about my favorite scent, and I actually cut it back and take it in to wash my hands and brush some on my wrists and throat so I smell it every time I move. Very soothing.

    LOVED your pics! And I hear you about the birdy critters getting to the strawberries first. Same here with me. Waste of time food-wise, other than the pleasure of watching them gorge. And don’t get me started on what I plant to attract hummingbirds.

    How are your avocados coming? And when are they coming here?

    Trish

    • Ah, impatiens! Known around here as deer dessert. 😉 Love them, but they wouldn’t last until I got them transplanted. But as for lavender, I have the best of both worlds…my wonderful neighbor grows it prolifically. And it’s upwind from my deck, so I get all the enjoyment and none of the work. They feed the birds, too, including hummers, so I benefit that way, too.

      Um…avocados? In the Northwest? Nope. Not happening. Artichokes, now, they’re coming up like crazy. 🙂

      • Trish Jensen says:

        THAT’S what I meant! Artichokes! Yes, yes, I’ll take all of those extra artichokes! 🙂 There’s a place in CA called, I THINK, Blumes that sells these huge, gorgeous and delicious artichokes and avocados. Problem is they cost a fortune. SO worth it if you can afford them. I only indulge a couple of times a year when they’re in season. I’d love to watch baby chokes grow up. Pictures? Pretty please?

      • The big artichokes aren’t actually mine, they’re my wonderful neighbors. I mow their grass, they pay me in artichokes. 🙂

  2. Rosemary Elwell says:

    I tend to have a “dead thumb”, as opposed to a green one. However, I do have a few plants that seem to be hanging on. Two zonal begonias are still surviving from last year, and the one I purchased this year is also still around. I have a bunch of tomato plants, mostly from letting last years tomatoes simply fall into the pots and sprout. I did move some of them into a raised bed in the yard, which is where the tomato hornworms and aphids found them. Sigh….

    • Rosemary-
      I know that feeling. I could grow flowers, but never veggies, that was my DH’s talent. I struggle through with tomatoes because I love them so much, but most other edible things I’m hopeless with. That’s why I’m in such awe of that mother strawberry plant that keeps putting out more and more runners.

      And I count myself blessed that I’ve only ever seen *pictures* of tomato hornworms…ew!!

      • Rosemary Elwell says:

        Hhmmm… actually, I have geraniums, not begonias. Don’t know how I got the two confused.

        And yes, definitely count yourself lucky that you’ve only seen pictures of hornworms. The smaller of the two I found was three inches long. The larger one was four inches, and he/she/it really put up a fight when I tried to knock it off to squish it.

  3. azteclady says:

    No veggies for me–too many pests and too many pets (you read that right) whose owners let roam the neighborhood, and since I can’t put up a full fence…

    I do have a wonderful gardenia bush on the side of the walk. This year it’s bloomed almost constantly, after years of just not blooming (the buds would fall off, unopened) and it’s wonderful to come home in the evenings and smell it.

    There’s also the out of control plumbago in the back, the bougainvillea that’s covering one side of the façade and blooming year round and the two crêpe myrtles on the side of the house, which are right now gearing to burst into bloom.

    • No fences here, either. But there’s enough wildlife out and about that most people keep pets at home. Pests are another matter; we’re on the cusp of an invasion of tent caterpillars. Nasty things. Come in cycles, like cicadas, only without the noise. Been plucking them of the bushes to the tune of about fifty a day. Ugh.

      I love gardenia, it’s my favorite scent! Don’t you wish you knew what happened/didn’t happen to make it suddenly so happy? And plumbago and bougainvillea? Wow, tropical type things I haven’t seen since I left California! Sounds lovely.

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