Dear Friend and Gardener, July 5, 2010

Dear Carol and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

My letter is a bit tardy because I had to regroup this morning after the fireworks last night. One of the strangest things about living in the country is the 4th of July festivities. Fireworks vendors begin setting up shop in trailers and tents all along the Oklahoma County line about two weeks before Independence Day. Fireworks are illegal in Oklahoma County. However, where I live, in Logan County, they are legal, and the popping and crackling begins two weeks before the holiday. By the time Independence Day rolls around, the entire county is blanketed with loud bangs, and the sky is filled with sparkling light. It’s a good thing I love fireworks, or I’d be forced to move to a motel until the barrage ended. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to write it is like being on the set for a Civil War movie. Eerie, but fun, and with all the rain we’ve had, no worries of anyone setting a brush fire.

I think eggplants are among the most beautiful vegetables growing. Okra is another beautiful plant.

In the garden, things are shaping up nicely. We have eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and onions. The corn is ripening on the stalk, and I’ve sprayed the silks with Pam cooking spray to thwart corn earworms. It truly works. The okra is beginning the grow in earnest, and so are the sweet potatoes and cucumbers. The cucumber seeds I planted are making some strange fruit, and I’ll try for a picture next week.

Perennial hibiscus in the lower garden with Black-eyed Susans and 'Paprika' yarrow.

Oh, wait, I’ll be headed up to Buffalo on Thursday with a return on Sunday. I may not have a letter on Monday. We’ll see.

In the perennial garden, beauty reigns supreme, and after another two inches of rain yesterday because of Hurricane Alex, the plants are growing thicker and fuller than ever before. I am so sorry for the people in the Gulf though. What a terrible time they’re going through.

H. 'Laura Harwood' As daylilies begin to bloom, their scapes continue to grow while the flower is blooming. Laura starts blooming down in her foliage, but within a week, she grows up and out.

The daylilies are finally starting their last hurrah. I always know because H. ‘Laura Harwood’ finally begins to bloom up out of her foliage. The Reckamps start blooming in earnest, and H. ‘Autumn Minaret’ begins to dance high above my head. (I notice she is blooming a bit ahead of schedule this year.) It’s a sad for them to go, but part of the change in seasons within the garden. The crapemyrtles and Phlox paniculata begin to take their place. Also, the perennial hibiscus begin their rhumba, and the music is hot, hot, hot.

Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies feasting on rotting peaches

This afternoon, I saw the most amazing phenomenon in my driveway. About twenty butterflies were perched atop rotting peaches which fell from the tree. They were so drunk on their own personal peach brandy, they let me get very, very close. Amazing isn’t it? Most were Eastern Black Swallowtails (I think), but three or four other types, including the Red Admiral and a few Painted Ladies, fluttered about. It was fascinating to watch them so closely.

Red Spotted Purple butterfly correctly identified by Robin L.

I hope they stick around long enough to lay their eggs on the parsley or the dill. Oh, and don’t worry we didn’t get enough peaches. I made two cobblers for celebrations, gave some to my mother and my in-laws, and I still have a bucket to peel and put up in the freezer. They were small, but mighty.

That’s all for now. Hope things are beautiful in your world too.


  1. It sounds like we had a similar July 4th experience at our country home in Piedmont. The fireworks and noise around us all evening was amazing! And the fireworks stand was just up the street, so there was steady traffic on our usually quiet street. Even watching the headlights go by through all the fireworks smoke was kind of pretty.

    Hi Shari, thanks for stopping by. Yes, it sounds almost exactly the same.~~Dee

  2. Terra says:

    I love the swallowtails on the peaches, sort of like a wild party for butterflies. I would love to have a peach tree; I bought a lemon tree this month.

  3. Very pretty butterflies!

    Butterflies always visit our compost pile cuz the chickens always turn it over to expose the fruit and vegetable pieces…and they are often on our horse manure pile too.

    Today our yard was ablaze with monarchs, frittilaries and painted ladies!

    happy day!

  4. RobinL says:

    I am so glad you reminded me about leaving out rotting fruit for the butterflies! I don’t have any rotting peaches, but I’m sure I can come up with watermelon rinds. That last shot does appear to be a red-spotted purple butterfly instead of a swallowtail. See how he doesn’t have any swallow tail?

  5. What a magical moment you had with the swallowtails! We don’t have blues here just yellow and black swallowtails so yours look so exotic. Around here swallowtails really dig fennel and since it grows like a weed in my garden, I’ve got lots of egg laying going on. I hope you do too!

  6. Rose says:

    What a sight these butterflies are! I’m still chuckling at the thought of intoxicated butterflies all over your driveway:) Actually, this is not a bad idea–the next time I clean out the fridge, I’ll throw the spoiled fruit into the butterfly garden instead of the compost bin. ‘Laura’ is such a beautiful daylily; I had to scroll down and see the post I missed with all the different daylily cutivars. Sigh; I want every one of them.

  7. Meredith says:

    I agree with you about eggplants and okra being some of the prettiest veggies growing, Dee. Although I also like to keep my eye on purple cabbages and bean blossoms. 😉

    Those butterflies are a sight at their feast of sweetness, and I am now lusting after your daylily. That’s one of the most glorious I’ve ever seen.

  8. marnie says:

    Good morning Dee, I’ve heard butterflies love over ripe fruit but never seen them eating it. Great photos.

    Laura Harwood is a wonderful color. I’ve been looking for some dark colored daylilies to set off my yellows and golds.

  9. Love the butterflies on peaches. I saw a Monarch on my butterfly weed for the first time ver. W00t! I also love eggplants, both as food and as noogie-cute plants. Can’t wait til I get some forming on my plant (which I planted out way too late).

  10. Stacey says:

    Hi Dee. Just wanted to let you know that I’m really close to you in Edmond. There are lots of fireworks here too…especially this year since it’s so wet. I guess people were not as worried about the fire danger.

    Aren’t you shocked at the amount of rain we’ve had? It has been great for everything at my house except the grass. Drives this perfectionist crazy!

  11. Sounds like all is doing well in your garden. The butterflies are beautiful!!! I’v noticed butterflies also like watermelon rinds. I sit any we have fruit side up to feed butterflies before it dries up.

  12. Carol says:

    Sounds like you are having an excellent year in the vegetable garden. Love the sight of those butterflies, all drunk on your driveway.

  13. Randy says:

    The butterflies are wonderful! I’ve only seen a couple of them here so far this year.

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