The lavender that spills over at the foot of the porch steps is past its prime bloom.
I had my camera nearby as I pruned sage plants which had gone straggly and took several shots of this butterfly which I hadn't seen before.
Most of the shots were even more blurred than this one.
There is always a companionable cat or two when I work in the gardens. I was concerned that the hovering butterfly was about to become prey.
Two hummingbird feeders are attracting visits from a pair of ruby-throated hummers who are once again nesting in one of tall spruce trees below the side porch.
Although I have tried through many seasons, I've never taken a clear photo of these busy
Bees love the lavender. Working in this small plot I need to be wary that I don't upset a bumble bee or a smaller honeybee.
The garden sage in the background produced showy spires of blue in May, then the plant began to look shabby. I've snipped off the faded stems of bloom in hopes that the sage will produce some woody stalks and healthy leaves.
Purple sage has looked unkempt with a litter of clinging dead leaves. I recall it had this untidy habit in my previous herb garden.
This solitary 'toadstool' sprang up in the rough path that edges the perennials set in place last autumn.
It caught and held a sparkle of drops from an early morning rain.
By the following day it had melted and collapsed.
Hawkeye Belle--a favorite of the roses planted in my Gradyville garden [the one ignominiously buried under a new parking lot!]
I moved this 'offspring' to the bedford stone house in 2014, then here last summer.
The bush is still small, but the first blooms are encouraging.
I saved seeds from last summer's cosmos.
This one and the white one pictured below are volunteer plants.
It appears I will have a perpetual supply of cosmos.
Some seeds found a toehold at the base of the retaining timbers. Strangely, the plants have bloomed while still small and stunted. The same happened with the poppies. I suspect I should have thinned out the huddle of plants rather than letting most of them grow on.
Nasturtiums are a favorite. I raised them every summer during our Vermont years, letting them billow from a half barrel planter.
I bought these as starts from the nursery. I've no doubt I will find some morning that they have been consumed overnight by squishy green caterpillars--the usual fate of my Kentucky nasturtiums.
Garden helpers--Bobby Mac and Willis parading along the retaining timbers.
A spray of daisies flattened in the rock-lined drainage ditch.
White foxglove, seed-grown and cosseted on the porch last summer, planted in the last warm days of mid-November.
The untidy rugosas have had their spring flush and need to be trimmed back as they lean too far into the side porch walkway.
Sutton's Apricot foxglove at its peak before the last rain.
Seed pods are forming now and I've tied the stalk to the fence so that the seeds will ripen and can be saved. I nurtured seedlings from three foxglove varieties last year: the white, shades of rose and the apricot. Less than a half dozen of the apricot germinated. Only two have bloomed, the second one a less hardy plant with blossoms in a pale peach-pink.
Lavender a week ago in peak bloom.
The unpruned sage is very visible in the background.
The weather turned hot today--about 90 F--after a week of nearly perfect June days.
Mornings were cool, the sun's heat at mid-day tolerable.
I labored outside, hoeing the row of beans, the Swiss chard, the hills of cucumbers and melons, loosening the rain-compacted soil around the tomatoes.
I ripped and hacked at weeds in the perennial strips, tweaked weeds and an excess of self-sown cockscomb from the area between the concrete steps and the edge of the porch.
It doesn't read like a great accomplishment!
Considering what yet needs to be done, I'm feeling a bit daunted by aching knees and shoulders.
This business of 'aging' shouldn't be allowed to interfere with my passion for gardening!
I daresay I must learn 'moderation'--some fussy way of working for an hour and
knowing enough to quit.
I don't like to quit a task once I've gotten started. In the case of gardening, once the knees of my jeans are grubby and my fingernails are dark with embedded earth, it seems a shame to hoist myself to my feet and abandon the rest of the patch!
With the weather tipping into the heat and humidity of summer I know that garden chores will need to be accomplished very early in the morning.
The first exuberant blooms will fade rapidly in the simmering heat, plants will soon need to be cut back, mulch needs to be renewed.
I am torn between the longing for 'more garden' and the reality of diminished stamina.
Creating a fertile area, civilizing a patch of ground that has known only rocks and weeds is a demanding chore, not accomplished in one season.
Perhaps it is time to explore the possibilities of 'container gardening.'