After the excitement of last weekend, the week has passed by rather quietly. The summer heat has finally stifled me, it would seem--or else it was whatever pollen and dander has been floating in the air. Along with, of course, the humidity.
Regardless, the endless dry days of temperatures in the upper 90s are taking their toll, and not just on me.
Doesn't the garden look positively droopy? To be fair, I snapped this about 6:00 at the end of another hot dry day. If you look closely, you'll see some of the tomato plants are well on their way to dead, and I don't think it's simply the weather. It could be a fungus, or just old age and general stress wearing them down. Whatever the cause, they have done their duty well, and if they are a bit tired, who am I to think less of them?
The beans on the trellis, however, are another matter. They are having a lovely time up there, enjoying regular visits from the mockingbirds who enjoy the vantage point to survey the yard...but they haven't produced squat. Everyone I've shared garden gossip with this year has told me the same thing: the beans and squash will not fruit. We are doing well in that our beans are at least flowering--for all the good it's doing. Still, I know that the roots are adding vital nitrogen to our soil, so I will let them enjoy their unearned vacation!
I should have taken a photo earlier of our cayennes and jalepenos. Earlier this week I harvested at least half of the ripe peppers from these bushes. There was so much red it looked like Christmas had come early! We have very little use for these, as I am a grand wimp in the spice category, but Miss Chef just enjoys growing them. Fortunately, one of my co-workers has actually become known as Hot Sauce around the office due to his love of spice, so he was quite happy to take my half-harvest for making pepper vinegar. More power to him!
And here's a closeup of our sad tomatoes...
I have to confess, they've been suffering from neglect. They should have been tied up again, and a couple of the stakes have bent or broken. But I'm so tomatoed out, and it's been so uncomfortable out, I haven't been able to bring myself to care enough to do something about it!
However, not everything is dead or dying! The unmonitored basil has gone happily along on its own, putting out flavorful foliage and pretty flowers, much to this fellow's delight.
Look at that greedy little guy (or gal, rather), face full into the nectar cup. Honestly, such manners! Still, I must graciously thank this bee for more or less ignoring me while I hovered overhead trying to get my best snap. (That bright blue background is the side of our inflatable pool--which come to think of it, is also kind of droopy.)
Meanwhile, Rosie was enjoying her new fence.
She has recently discovered something living under the neighbor's deck, and now spends hours at a time keeping watch. Dog tv; no monthly fee!
There is one amazing gardening success that happened right under our noses! This is the front entrance walkway to the house. Notice the variety of contrasting foliage.
Those spiky plants in the front are actually lemongrass! Miss Chef, as ever curious about unusual ingredients that we can grow ourselves, bought a few plants during a late-spring herb binge. Her herb garden, and my vegetable garden, were both already full, so she stuck them in here. (I haven't been able to get any perennials to take root here, so it's become our test nursery--last year we had yellow bell peppers here.)
It's a good thing she didn't try to stuff these into her herb garden, because the center plant alone is just about as big as that entire bed! The only failure here is our failure to actually use a single bit of these plants. The one or two times I might have had need of their flavor I had completely forgotten their existence.
Since these are not perennials, we'll have to dry some to experiment with. (Hmmm....sounds like a good prize for a giveaway, don't you think?)
And, finally, an unexpected shot of something I'm quite happy about!
The city of Charlotte has recently expanded its curbside recycling program. Every home in the city received one of these bins to replace the old red square ones we used to carry to the curb. There has been a lot of grumbling in the paper and online, partly because they also completely changed the pickup schedules for both trash and recycling. And of course, there are always those who resent any government interference in their lives and think that recycling is some kind of liberal conspiracy against personal freedom (insert eye-roll).
However, since these parallel so easily with the pre-existing trash bins, I have been thrilled to notice that a huge majority of our neighborhood is dutifully rolling these to the curb every other week! Which means less in the landfills, regardless of anyone's political leanings. And I've also enjoyed the fact that we don't have to juggle an overflowing red bin down to the street anymore.
Oh, and since the two bins are so similar in size, I can now say that Miss Chef and I recycle as much as we toss. Which makes me very happy.
What's making you happy these days?