Deer-proof Shrubs

Russian Sage and Cherry Sage

The rains in the mountains have turned the grass to a lush green. The shrubs are doing well too. The deer leave the Sage and the Butterfly Bushes alone.

Butterfly Bush

The Trumpet Vine is doing well too. The deer went after the tender shoots when it was first planted, but now that it’s mature, they leave it alone. (Trumpet Vine develops a thick woody trunk, so it needs a strong support system.) As I was trying to get a good photo, a hummingbird flitted from one blossom to another. I asked him to stay in one place so I could take his picture. He obliged me by perching on a dead twig that jutted out from the base of the vine. Handsome fellow.

Past, Present and Future

Last week I wrote about our white and lavender Crape Myrtle bushes that came into bloom after the monsoon rains began. This week the red variety has blossomed more profusely than it has in years, and the purple variety (pictured below) is just beginning to bloom.

I think the reason gardening is so good for the soul is that it’s mostly about the present and the future. The past is important, of course. It took eons for the soil to develop, and the nutrients from past fallen leaves have played their part. But when I’m in the garden, I don’t think about the past. That’s a good thing.

It’s the present blossoms that keep my attention, as well as the tender green shoots that promise future delight.

Lantana

Lantana Landmark Rose Glow

Here we are again in the dog days of summer. The soil in our neighborhood is sandy with a hardpan of clay beneath the surface — a real challenge for my gardening aspirations. However, over time I have learned that some plants do well and even thrive here. While other plants are looking a little sad, the potted Lantana (pictured above) is the star of our courtyard. When it goes dormant in winter, I will transplant it into the ground.

The varieties pictured below are gracing the front yards of our neighbors on the block.

Pandemic Blues

In the market today, I overheard a customer asking the clerk if people were honoring the face mask requirement. “Everyone is so done with face masks, and everyone is in a bad mood,” she replied. (In spite of her comments, everyone was wearing a mask, including the clerk.)

The face mask hadn’t bothered me, but I had been in a bad mood for a few days. Things that didn’t help:

  • Missing Mass
  • Binge watching murder mysteries
  • Staying indoors

Things that helped:

  • Prayer
  • My husband
  • Friends
  • Gardening
  • Exercise
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Music

Lost and found: Hope

A Single Tomato

My husband has a deep appreciation for juicy ripe tomatoes, so this year I decided to try my hand at a tomato plant.  The package said it would grow in cool or hot weather and eventually provide hundreds of sweet cherry tomatoes.  During the first week, half the leaves turned yellow and came off.  This morning a single green tomato appeared among the remaining leaves.  I’m tempted to think it’s mocking me.  Gardening is not all joy, my friends.