Seriously, where do they all come from? I’d been enjoying a perfectly fine — albeit insanely crazy-making hot — summer, and then, bam! Or, rather, slap! Because, that’s what I’ve been doing in the garden lately. A whole lot of slapping of mosquitoes.
Frankly, it’s beginning to get a little old.
The gutters are clean. The rain barrels are all spiked with Mosquito Dunks, so that’s not the problem. I think the source is beyond my control, because it’s beyond my property line. Mosquitoes, apparently, don’t worry one bit about trespassing.
Granted, I’ve created a pretty nice habitat for them. The garden is packed with flowers, which appeals to the nectar-hungry male mosquitoes. And, the dense plant growth provides great cover for the pacifist males and the blood-thirsty females. Plus, there’s me. Not only am I outside ALL THE TIME, but I’m also one of those folks with delicious blood. Mosquitoes love to bite me. Really, if you want to hang outside without worrying about bug spray or being bitten, just sit next to me. You’ll be fine. Me? Well, don’t be surprised if you lose sight of me due to the massive cloud of mosquitoes hovering around, just waiting for one taste of my blood.
You probably think I’m exaggerating.
So, I’m desperate. The flowers and plants and me are all here to stay. But, I’d really like the mosquitoes to skeedadle. Any advice? The only thing that really seems to work is DEET, and only if I bathe in it. I’m not such a fan of that. The herbal concoctions seem to work great for the mild-mannered native mosquitoes, but not for the black-and-white striped Asian tiger mosquitoes. If you’ve found a non-DEET solution for relief from those guys, please share your wisdom with me.
Ok. Sorry about that mosquito rant. How about we look at some photos instead?
I will never get tired of how this garden looks in the golden, early morning sunlight:
The beans I planted a few weeks ago are filling in nicely:
You can see why I’m such a fan of bush beans in the front border of front yard vegetable gardens. They grow fast (these are just three weeks old), look fantastic, and produce one of my most favorite harvests. These are ‘Royal Burgundy,’ and will soon be covered in purple flowers, to be followed by purple beans. The hint of color is fantastic, but ordinary green beans are also a great choice for the garden’s edge.
If there’s a bare spot in my garden, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll plant bush beans in that soil.
And, if a volunteer butterfly weed pops up in one of my bean patches, you can be sure I’ll leave it there. I just hope this little volunteer grows quickly enough to lure some monarchs and feed some caterpillars before the summer is over. The parent plants didn’t make it through the winter, and for a very good reason: I planted the wrong variety. This is Mexican butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica). Not winter-hardy in Virginia. Oops. I’d meant to add some of our native butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) this spring, and just never got around to it. So, now, I’m counting on these little Mexican volunteers to pull through for one more season.
Here’s something I wasn’t expecting:
Artichoke plants go ugly in the summer. Or, at least, they do in Virginia during a year that’s non-stop setting records for heat heat heat. I knew these would be a challenge here. Artichokes like mild winters and mild summers. Here in Virginia’s USDA Zone 7, we have sometimes-mild winters, and are-you-kidding hot summers. Still, I’d thought the winters would be the challenge. Looks like I may be wrong.
Now, artichokes are thistles. And, thistles are well-known for their strong and deep root systems that survive multiple beheadings (just ask anyone who has tried to reclaim thistle-infested land). So, I’m hoping the artichokes have just gone dormant, and that they will spring back to life in September, when things cool down a bit. Anyone know? If you’ve got experience growing artichokes in hot hot summers, I’d sure love to hear about your observations!
Just so we’re clear, I’m still THRILLED with how my artichokes did this year. So pretty! Well, not any more. But, just last week: so pretty!
Speaking of pretty, check out the ‘Blush’ tomato:
I wrote a tiny bit about ‘Blush’ tomatoes a few days ago. Since then, I’ve been watching this jewel ripen and darken. Another day or two, I think, and it’ll be perfect. Yum!
Keeping that theme of yum:
My sweet potatoes are HUGE! Biggest and happiest sweets I’ve ever grown. I can’t wait to harvest these beauties. Just a few more months.
My red cabbages are forming heads! Ok, ok… I know… It’s totally not cabbage season any more. And, cabbages aren’t nearly as sexy or fun as sweet potatoes. But, this is my first go at growing cabbages, so I’m thrilled. Looking forward to a bit of homegrown ‘slaw in a few more weeks.
By the way, did you notice how I changed the name of the garden photo tour to “weekly” instead of “Monday morning?” Sneaky, eh? I’ll still be sharing these photo tours at the beginning of each week. But, I figure we’re all tired of listening to me apologize for missing my self-imposed Monday deadline. So, this will be better. Promise. As long as I don’t start missing whole weeks…
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