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Late Summer in the Garden

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Something finally brought me back to the blog after a rather frantic summer.  A picture of a weed.

velcro plantWell, most people call it a weed, but I consider it a wildflower.  It’s current popular name is velcro plant; it was formerly called stickleaf.  If you pull it up you will find out why.  It’s proper name is said to be Mentzelia.  This particularly fine specimen is growing at the edge of our pool deck.

Since I had the camera out, I looked around to see what else is currently showing off.  Here is my hummingbird bush.

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Like most of my garden, it is doing just fine being neglected.  Across the yard from this is my tallest grass plant.

p1010093.jpgWhat you see is the top half of the high wall that holds up the ground of the house behind us and a very little of the great mound of leaves which supports these feathery spikes of seed.  In the mornings small birds land on the seed heads and weigh them down.

I have never learned the proper name of this giant grass.  As for the hummingbird bush I have looked it up more than once, but don’t remember.  So much to learn, so much else to occupy the mind.

 

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About the Iris

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The iris in the corner of my yard are out.  I’d been watching them from my desk.  Saturday morning they seemed still very tight.  Sunday afternoon several of them were waving their flags.

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Here are some thoughts on how important such transient beauty is in the scope of our daily lives.  Thanks to a Two Sylvias Press prompt last year on “love and beauty in a terrible world.”

Balancing Act

The blue iris and the white,
white alyssum and purple mat
bloom in sandy spring winds.

Sitting beside you makes even
the building with one wall gone
bearable, though I get up to season

our thick bean soup to unsee
children carried on stretchers
after yesterday’s bombing.

We have news, a mute button,
an off switch.  And a camera
to record the short-lived iris blooms.

Turn, turn, turn

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Another cross-quarter day, better known as Halloween.  I read somewhere that this is the third harvest, the others coming at Lammas (early August) and the equinox.  Maybe in Europe?  I don’t seem to have much to harvest this year.  In fact it is planting season for Swiss chard, the one vegetable I’ve succeeded in growing here.  But I do have flowers:

P1000985The chamisa and the butterfly bush are flaunting their yellow and red, and yes, fighting for space.  In the side yard the volunteer autumn sage is blooming again:

P1000987Fortunately, it doesn’t mind in the least that I never got around to deadheading the last set of blooms.  As the weather cools I hope to give the garden more attention.

In the summer I was fighting weeds with early morning forays with vinegar and salt.  It seems to work.  My front walk is quite well behaved.  Time to spend more energy on the other sides of the house.  Who was it who commented that something is always happening in a garden?

Late Summer Garden

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As I have mentioned before, I like volunteers in the garden.  A case of nature doing its thing.  But sometimes they get out of hand.  Last year I saw some grass leaves coming up, but wasn’t sure what grass it was.  This year, only its second, it looked like this:

P1000979It’s the child of the largest grass plant I have, shown here in the background, and much too big for the space.  I had to pay someone to take it out.  But I didn’t waste the plumes.

P1000980An elegant, filmy, look.  They lasted several days.  I also had some  desert globemallow getting out of bounds, so I brought some branches of that in too.

P1000982This bouquet was more short-lived, but pleasing while it lasted (I am partial to orange).  The globemallow is a short-lived perennial, but it seeds avidly.  I have quite a spread of it, third and fourth generation, I think.  One of the volunteers decided to lean toward my study window, giving me a bit of bloom to enjoy from my desk.

P1000983It is different every day as the individual flowers fade and new ones open.  I like it when a little of my garden can come inside for a bit – or at least “lean in.”

Small Visitor

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I discovered a turtle in my yard.  I first found him by a wall, later trying to climb over a hose on the other side of the back yard.

P1000975One day he or she was in the driveway, so I carried the creature back inside the gate and left him/her by a wall, near green growing things, after I took a few pictures.  The markings on the back are lovely, but gave me no clue about the species.

turtle closeup

I thought he might have left, but saw him again a few days later -he crossed the yard again, and apparently come out to dry out a bit after rain.

No further sightings in over a week.  I like to think my back yard is a hospitable place.  I hope you enjoyed your stay, little one!

One Day in Spring

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Not just on one day, but on one trip into the yard with the camera this past week, these different flowers all smiled at me, asking to have their picture taken.

P1000957Purple mat is a small flower which, this year, is here, there and everywhere in my yard, after some years of scarcity.

P1000954The iris came with the house.  That is, a few flat leaves showed up in unexpected places.  I’ve transplanted and fed them.  They seem to like being against the wall.  They take much more work than native flowers, and don’t last as long, but they were an accidental gift, so I keep caring for them.

P1000955No, these are not the same poppies I’ve shown before.  It’s a good year for them, they keep appearing in new spots.

With so little to smile at on the news these days, it’s a good thing we still have flowers.

Still Spring

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I spent the equinox thinking about clocks.  One week after we went to daylight saving time here in New Mexico, we went to Tucson for the weekend, where they don’t do daylight saving time; wisely, since they are at the western edge of the time zone.  It was nice to have light when we woke up in the morning.  Coming back and getting up on Monday was like starting the shift all over again.  Meanwhile, some volunteer plants have shown up in my yard.

P1000726

This autumn sage chose a sheltered place.  Whether it can root deep enough to survive remains to be seen.  Its parent plant, on the other side of the wall, is doing well.

The volunteer autumn sage gets shade from the neighbor’s tree as well as from the wall and it may get some water from the neighbors watering their tree.  The tree is putting out many new cones, which will eventually drop in our yard.

P1000729

This past week, the iris bloomed.

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The iris plants are a symbol of irony for me.  They came with the house, but they’re certainly not native.   All the native plants I’ve acquired since are younger than they are.  They were down to a few straggly leaves when we moved in.  I haven’t grown iris before, but I’ve been learning, and they are now abundant, though the blooms are sporadic. This year they’ve provided wonderful Easter color.

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