It’s Bloom Day and Sunday to boot. For those who live somewhere other than the center of the country, I’ll give you the forecast in two words: hot and dry. Okay, it was three words, but we don’t count “and,” do we? It’s not as hot as last year, but the Bermuda grass is finally starting to burn up all over town. The rural grasses are turning amber too and setting seed like the prairie natives they are. Our weather is terribly dry. Popup showers, caused by the heat and a Gulf Coast front “thingee” have been popping up. Nothing has popped up here. Nary a drop. However, with well-timed soaker hoses and a drip watering system, I do have plants and lots of vegetables. If I’d quit frying them, I’d lose weight, but I do love a fried piece of summer squash once a week. And, our new find of fried squash blossoms isn’t helping either. Recipes and the Great Squash Challenge to follow soon. Because our temperatures have stayed right under 100F, we also have tomatoes. Everybody cheer!
Plus, we have sunflowers, beautiful sunflowers.
It isn’t all about sunflowers here at the Red Dirt Ranch, but I’m really enjoying them this year. I planted a line of two mixes just starting to bloom at the edge of the new vegetable garden. They were seed packets of yellow and more bronzed varieties. The dark horse, above, bloomed today. Just so you know, two weeks ago, I planted two more seed mixes, Flash and ‘Peach Passion‘ both from Botanical Interests so that I could have more sunflowers after these are through. I also grew dwarf ‘Teddy Bear’ from Burpee Seeds next to the red fountain. It is way smaller than I expected.
Below, is another shot of ‘Strawberry Blonde.’ I can’t begin to express how beautiful I find this sunflower. Apparently the bees do too. She must have lots of good nectar. The color shifts depending upon the light and temperature. As the blooms age, they change color too.
We are at high summer, and there is so much to show you. I can’t capture it all. So, I’m going to focus on those plants which draw in the pollinators. Here, a wasp feasts upon the nectar in bronze fennel. Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ is a crazy plant. It’s perennial where I live and also sets seed so if you get it going, you’ll have it forever. If you let it grow its second year, it will be six feet tall, and people will think you’re nuts. Still, it tastes good, is a great digestive, and small pollinators love it as do the larvae of swallowtail butterflies. It’s prettier than the green fennel too so I think it’s one of those plants you could grow in the perennial garden with no apology.
My bees are back just in time for the feast I readied for them. As I waited all spring and early summer for their arrival, I began to worry they weren’t going to come. I kept thinking of the parable of the Great Feast–Luke 14:15-24–where the king invites his guests, and no one shows up. Not that I’m a king or God, but I began to understand how lonely God must feel when we receive all the good things life has to offer and never say thank you. I’m not preaching. These were just my thoughts as I toiled out in the garden day after day, and not a single bee came.
Then, just when I’d lost hope, the bees returned, along with butterflies galore, and this afternoon, I caught this exquisite creature sipping nectar from the Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes.’
So, I’m going to say thank you. Thanks to everyone who reads my ramblings and to God who helps me make my garden, and to all the friends I’ve made since I started blogging. It’s been a fun ride, and there are more good things to come. We just need to remember why we garden . . . I’m not sure what your reason is, but for me, it’s to offer shelter for all the little ones from the storm.
Happy Bloom Day everyone. Thanks to Carol from May Dreams Gardens who makes Bloom Day possible, and again . . . thank you.