Now that school's out, I've been gardening early in the morning before the heat is too great for me (>79°F). In a few weeks, that time will probably change. I love being up early, as long as I don't have to talk.This is a miniature rose that I've had in my garden for a few years, with genuine dewdrops on it. I don't think there are too many things that feel cleaner than dew from roses. The blossom is only a little bigger than the circle I can make with thumb and forefinger, so it's not large. It has a very slight fragrance. The flowers are rather indecisive; last year they were more apricot colored, and this year it's pale pink. This is not the original shape the flowers were.Here is a different flower from the same little bush, with a statue of the Blessed Virgin in the background which was a present from my family for a certain recent academic accomplishment. This is the shape the flowers used to be-- see, it's more typical miniature-rose-shaped. The entire bush is a little less than knee-high. It blooms now, and again in October.This is a rambler rose that went wild. It would be covered in little clumps of these peppery-smelling blossoms, but the deer keep chewing most of them off.
My oriental lilies are blooming, too. I used to have them all in one clump, but then a deer beheaded them all in one fell swoop. Last year, I planted them all over the place as a defensive measure. So far, nothing has chewed them. They're so bright it almost hurts to look at them.Look at this! I always wondered how columbines got their names; I couldn't see anything birdlike about them. After some research, I found I just had to change my perspective a little. Here's a top view. Can you see three doves clustered together?The rose campion has been blooming for a couple weeks. I grew it from some seeds that friends gave me. The foliage is silvery grey-green and almost as soft as lamb's-ear, and the flowers are such a vibrant magenta that my camera can't seem to capture it. The seeds look like poppy seeds except more porous, and the pods are an interesting shape.The denizens of the garden are fun to observe. There are about a dozen five-lined skinks (Eumeces fasciatus) that skitter around hunting slugs and grubs and other nuisances. Males are taupe with a red head and faint stripes, females are black with yellow stripes, and juveniles of both sexes are black with yellow stripes and a brilliant blue tail. Here's a male sitting on the deck. He's at least eight inches long, which is apparently about as long as they get. I would love to play with them, but they're fragile little things, and they can drop their tails if they feel threatened-- so I just look at them, instead. Look at his handsome little red face.
One thing I have observed about skinks is that they often flick their "hands" against their flanks. I don't know why, or what this means, and I must find out. My only guess is that it has to do with their circulation-- but I have some more research to do. That's actually what he's doing, in that picture.
Here is a peculiar insect which was standing on a campion bud. It has lovely golden eyes and two stripedy antennae much longer than its body. I'm not sure what it might be-- it sort of reminds me of a katydid, but it's wingless, and rather the wrong shape.
I'll have more pictures, soon. The ice plant is just beginning to bloom, along with the feverfew, and in a couple more weeks the black-eyed susans and monarda will be starting to open.