July 20th, 2011



A few of the poppy plants that failed to bloom in spring have finally produced flowers. There were only seven blossoms today, but they gave that part of the yard a cheerful aspect it has been sadly lacking for the last few weeks. And while the jasmine blossoms are withering, and their scent growing faint, the belated flowers of the gardenia are now perfuming the night.

About the only plants that haven't recovered from the eccentric weather earlier in the year are the azaleas, which haven't produced a single blossom, and the peach tree, which still has only two small fruits on it.

But a volunteer plant I've never been able to identify is thriving. I think it might be some sort of lamb's ear. It has thick, blue-grey leaves and small flowers of a deep, vivid shade of red. Last year there were only a few of these plants, but they are spreading. Four big ones produced flowers this year, and each of them is surrounded by several smaller plants that are still hugging the ground and not putting out flower stalks. If I had a functioning camera I'd post photos of this plant, and maybe someone would be able to identify it. It's really taken a liking to my yard, so it will probably be around for some time.

One plant I could do without is the nettle. Portia came home with dozens in her fur this evening. I'm not sure where she went to find them, but the house on the corner where she has gone bird hunting in the past has been vacant for a couple of months, so its yard might be running wild. If that's the case, I'll probably be combing nettles out of her fur for the rest of the summer. I only managed to get a couple dozen of those she had tonight. She's chewed many others out herself. That can't be pleasant, but she refuses to have her underside combed, and snaps at me when I try. I expect some pretty nasty hairballs to be coming soon.

The Sunset Was Nice, Too

Some of the sourgrass might be drowned. I put the hose on it and then forgot to move it for two hours. That'll show up on the water bill. The hose ought to have been all the way down to this end of the house an hour ago, but it's only irrigating the gardenia bush. I'll have to be attentive and not let the gardenias drown. The night needs their fragrance.

That's probably what the crickets are telling me even now. I fancy that the cricket chirps are vibrating the petals as they vibrate the air, and releasing an extra bit of scent— just enough to transform the ordinary yard into an exotic garden, the way the trees are transformed to brocade on sky and ground by the moonlight.