Thursday, August 15, 2013

Photos With a Few Words

We have at last experienced two whole nights and two days when it DID NOT RAIN!
The long spell of rain, humidity and heat broke on Monday evening.
Prior to that, nightly torrents of rain accompanied by rumblings of thunder have disturbed our sleep.
The air has been so heavy with moisture that it seemed one could reach up and squeeze it out
--like wringing a sponge!
Mornings brought little relief from the sense of heaviness--swirls of mist rising from the creek, trees and garden plants bowed with the weight of too much rain.
My brain has felt befogged and slow; threads of thought have appeared only to skitter away when I tried to pin them down with words.
Squelching about in my boots I discovered that the 'garden spiders' as they are locally called, have made their webs this year in the nandina bushes which march along the east and south sides of the house. I haven't pruned them this summer and the dense growth appeals to argiope aurantia.

I am not an insect lover, but these large handsome spiders intrigue me.
Their webs have a characteristic 'zig-zag' stitch down the center. Often the spiders rip apart a portion of the web and rework it overnight.

This is the first year I have planted cleome, growing both a white and a rose variety from seed.
Note the whiskery bits.
Both butterflies and hummingbirds find the pink flowers attractive.

Willis the cat is partial to this hump of grey rock on the front lawn. 
He sprawls there with the pink blossoms a fitting background for his grey tweed suit.

Butterflies on zinnias.

A zinnia unfurls on a misty morning.

The sunflowers with bronzed petals are my favorites.

When I went outside two weeks ago to find the sunflowers flattened, stalks bent, I thought of cutting them down to clean up the area.  I was deterred by yet more rain.
The sunflowers, valiant things that they are, have bloomed from their horizontal positions.

The tumble of sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias against the welcome 
blue skies of Wednesday morning.

I have pulled up yards and yards of naturalized morning glory in our previous three summers. 
There is always more of it.
The persistent vines clamber up the sunflower stalks and the blue blossoms peek out.
There is also a very invasive plant--visible in left center of the photo--it puts down roots where ever the stems touch soil.  It is a nuisance plant [I don't know its name] in spite of the tiny bright blue flowers.

My father planted morning glories near the side porch of his Vermont home for many years. 
He put up strings for them to climb, fussed over them, fumed when at nearly summer's end they had gone up the supports and turned back down again without blossoming. 
Perhaps these find the Kentucky climate more conducive to bloom.
I have to admire their 'heavenly blue' even as I scold over their persistence in appearing where they aren't wanted!

I spent a long morning yanking weeds from the lower perennial strip--the area so laboriously cleared at the end of June. It is mostly grass that invades, along with a wiry stemmed plant of the legume family.
Stems are lank and watery, the ground revealed when a handful is pulled away is soggy.
After several hours I was hot, sweaty, muddy-kneed, and impressed that I am fighting a weary battle this season against weeds and wet weather.
Nellie loves to burrow beneath the plants and spring out at the butterflies which I disturb with my flailing about.

The sunflowers still upright are way taller than I am--although they were labeled as 'dwarf.'
These are from saved seed, the originals were planted in 2010.

J. has been mystified all summer by the power to the garage cutting out at intervals.
He and Matt have fiddled with breakers, jiggled things trying to find a bad connection.
Tired of the outages and not finding the source of the trouble--most likely an underground 'short' in the line--J. consulted with old Mr. Rogers the last owner of the place as to where he had strung the power line.
Haskell Rogers at 97 is still very much in his right mind. With his directions as to the location of the original wiring, J. has disconnected it and laid a new 220 cable that leads out of the basement and across the yard to the garage--new breakers have been installed.
The new cable is buried along the inner edge of my herb garden, beside the concrete block retaining wall.
J. was able to carefully lay the cable with the minimum of disturbance to the lavender and woolly thyme along the wall.

J. rented a 'Ditch Witch' to get the trench deep enough for the electrical cable.

The cats were, of course, fascinated at the fresh earth turned up by this process.
The trench made a perfect 'hide' for mock battles, the moist dirt was a cool place to rest after exertions and also needed to be used as a temporary cat latrine!

I close this rambling post--the recollections of a scattery week--with this spill of cosmos.
These are also from saved seed.
They don't seem to mind their weedy space or the fact that they have been flattened by wind, rain and toppling sunflowers!


  1. That spider is spectacular....slightly creepy, but wonderful to see - thank you.

  2. I loved this 'rambling post of recollections of a scattery week'. That's how life is and you captured some lovely moments and some work being done there too. Glad that all went smoothly.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  3. I always enjoy seeing the cats. What beautiful flowers you have shown us. My dwarf sunflowers are also quite tall, about 5ft and have rather lady-like heads about 1ft across.

  4. We have those spiders on our place here in North Texas. They do get big, don't they? They both fascinate and frighten our granddaughters!

  5. What an amazing shot of that spider...and I always enjoy the journey around your garden area....I love Morning Glory.

  6. I'm glad I don't have to share my garden with arachnids like those (pretty as they are). I'll stick to flowers and cats! Would you believe, I have only just planted some Cosmos seedlings in the central bed in the yard? I forgot I had bought them (and Cleome - smack wrists!) so gave them a chance. I hope the Cleome will grow for me next year, having seen yours.

  7. Our neighbor has morning glories along her fence, which at first I thought was wonderful because they spilled over onto our side and really brightened up the trash can area. But now...they're threatening to take over the bouganvillea on our side. But at least we have flowers and lots of color.