Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July: An Appreciation

Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne'

I love summer at home in the yard: the warm nights, owl sounds and frog cries, fireflies, pungent groves of dog fennel, box turtles eating slowly out of the cats’ bowls . . . the mountainmint busy with all different kinds of bees and wasps and colorful flies. . . .

Here’s what’s blooming in our meadow right now in addition to the mountainmint (Pycnanthemum muticum): prairie coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata), cutleaf coneflowers (Rudbeckia laciniata), purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), wild petunias (Ruellia humilis), royal catchfly (Silene regia), powderpuff (Mimosa strigilosa), bear’s foot (Polymnia uvedalia), joepye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium), dwarf ironweed (Vernonia angustifolia), turk’s caps (Malvaviscus arboreus), Carolina larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum), and brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba).

Wild mice live in the meadow, along with big-eyed, adorable woodrats. Hummingbirds zip in to visit the turk's caps. Butterfly season is really gearing up, and so many leaves are studded with tiny, pearly, secret eggs and fat, single-minded caterpillars (eating, eating, eating).

There's plenty going on in our vegetable gardens too. We've got sweet potatoes growing in the sun in front of the breezeway, rambling right over the buttonbush and the waxmyrtles and our little lemon tree. Behind the "barn" (it's really our garage), hidden under blanket-like leaves, are cantaloupes--round and flesh-colored, like magical, featureless babies. (I can see how the notion of finding babies under cabbage leaves got started.) We have figs back there, too, and blackberries, and roses full of chubby orange hips. I love smelling the lemongrass on sunny, hot days . . . and spotting anoles.

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