A Ripe Butternut

I am still in a sling awaiting surgery, so Mr. Flower must do all the heavy lifting.

His chores now include picking the large produce.

I told him it was time to pick some of the butternut squash.

He asked how he would know which ones needed the picking and which the leaving.

I had never been asked such a question. I knew the answer but how to tell someone else was the puzzle.

I had to walk myself through the garden to get an answer.

When a butternut is ripe it looks pale-skin-pink like a rubber baby doll under the leaves.

Not green.

Not yellowish.

Only the pale skin colored are ripe.

Mercy! I am glad Mr. Flower is picking these. That whopper might blow out my other shoulder.


Pineapple Lilies

Much of my garden looks withered and tired in this heat, so I appreciate any plant that stands up and blooms mid-July. That’s when the Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ plants burst into bloom.

These blooms are visited by many insects. They are especially loved by bumble bees and Hummingbird moths.

‘Sparkling Burgundy’ Eucomis

This group has slowly spread over the years to form a lovely display. The plants have lost some of their color because they are not in full sun. I will eventually move the perimeter plants to a sunnier location to regain the burgundy spots.

A tiny version of Eucomis stays in pots. Its name is ‘Aloha.’ The blooms are the size of a thumbprint.

‘Aloha’ Eucomis

Eucomis plants originated in Africa, so they can take our North Carolina heat.

The bulbs are poisonous which means they are not eaten by my little friends.


The Beheading

I love my deer friends. I do not mind sharing a bit of my flower smorgasbord. But some things are off limits.

I have fence rings and mesh to gently signal that certain special plants should be avoided.

These deterrents do not stop the most determined eaters. Most of the time the eaten parts grow back.

But what does one do with a headless sunflower?

The poor little juicy buds were removed overnight.

Now I have topless, leafless stalks surrounding an obelisk. This is not the look I was going for!

Well at least I have one bloom. I hope this isn’t removed by a raccoon!


Glad it’s July

Gladioli are show-offs in July.

They are like flower fireworks in the garden.

I love how they shoot upward and bloom for weeks.

My two types in the Glad Circle are Pricilla (pink) and a Mardi Gras mix.

The Mardi Gras have the extra feature of interest in their purple pollen.

I am always Glad it’s July because of my Glads.


Hiding from a Hummer

Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking myself clever.

I post chairs around the garden to get the wildlife used to the chairs.

Then I quietly slip in the chairs to spy and take photographs without being noticed.

Last week I hunkered down in an Adirondak chair near the alstroemeria.

The female hummingbird zoomed in and spent time perusing the entire patch.

She moved so quickly that I aimed and snapped without focusing.

Before she flew away, she hovered right smack dab in front of my startled face.

She was letting me know that she saw me all along.


My Friends’ Farm and the Dogs

My world is small and quiet. I need it like that right now.

But I must make myself leave my haven on occasion.

My outing this week was to the farm of my friends.

Years ago it was a dairy farm. Later it was a daylily farm.

Now it is just home to some of my favorite people and their dogs.

The highlight of my visit was watching Raney, Bailey, Wally, Murphy and Skid.

They provided a lot of action and entertainment.

Wally was the star of the show. He constantly flushed rabbits out of the flower beds.

We laughed as we watched the rabbits skitter hither and yon without Wally ever seeing them.

It was hard to take my eyes away from the action to photograph the beautiful plantings and artwork.

I made this Stoneshroom back when I was a concrete artist. It has seasoned perfectly.

If I ever have a farm, it will be full of flowers

and goats and a donkey and some rabbits and lots of chickens and maybe an alpaca or llama and an emu…

and of course dogs.

A girl can dream can’t she?


Hang a Hoya

The blooms of the hoya do not look real.

They are complex and shiny.

Hoya bloom from above

They emerge from the stems that hang down below the main part of the plant.

They are best viewed from below, which means the plant must be hung high.


Circles and my Spy Chair

I needed a free-form trellis for the back corner of the carport.

That is where my favorite Spy Chair is positioned.

It’s hard to spy in plain view.

Last year I hung a tacky mixture of things for Climbing Okra to cling to.

This year I wanted all circles. I had some peony support circles and some needle-work frames.

I found more bamboo circles on the internet. I connected all these with zip ties.

The vine of choice this year is Flying Saucer morning glories.

My neighbor Nancy saw me constructing my Spy Blind of circles to hide behind.

“What if I’m talking about you?” she asked. “I’ll listen.” was my reply.

We joke about reading each others mail, too.