It looked, for awhile, like this may be one of those years when summer begins in May, followed by extreme heat in the summer months. It may still get very hot this summer, but so far the month of May has been cooler than April and very very wet, with the 10 day forecast maintaining that pattern.
Not much grows when there's no sunlight. We got over 4 inches of rain over a period of 3 days. The last two days brought relief and sunshine. The pond water is no longer rushing through the overflow pipe like a firehose. The relief won't last, though, as another massive weather system is due to arrive shortly, bringing another 3 inches of rain tonight and tomorrow. There will be some flooding.
This post isn't about much except walking around the place and taking stock.
The cattails have mostly greened up. A few weeks ago I posted a photo of brown cattails. Somehow the old blades just seems to disappear as the new growth crowds out the old.
The shade bed behind the back deck gets nicer with every passing year. The hostas are looking very healthy this year. The columbine is in full bloom.
In the vegetable garden, the chive is in blossom. The sage behind it has even produced a few flowers for the first time.
The brassica bed is planted full, although the plants haven't done much lately with the overcast sky. The one broccoli plant doesn't look like it will make it, so I'll seed some dill in that spot. There's been no shortage of volunteer dill, as it approaches weed status, and I've been pulling most of it up. I've found that most of the early dill is too early for making pickles, so it might as well come out. Last year I let two dill plants grow to maturity and they grew taller than I am, so there is plenty of dill seed on hand. What I want for pickles is the dill leaf, or 'dill weed,' and also the flower, which has its own unique flavor. I'll seed a new small patch every week now so a continuous supply is assured.
The beds are finally taking shape around the front porch, which are shaded by two pin oaks. The Britt Marie Crawford ligularia is looking better than ever. It's taken it long enough to reach this stage, but it got a rough start in the heat wave of 2012. This is my favorite plant. On its right is a baneberry, new this year. This is the third plant in that spot, maybe it will be charmed. The daylilies at the edge get just enough sun to flower.
The robins built a nest on top of the electric meter box. The nest fell off so I put one of the ledge boxes above it. They built a new nest on the roof of the box. Not quite what I had in mind but it's what they wanted.
On the other side of the porch I planted another ligularia a month ago. It's already sent up some new leaves. That's a wood poppy in front of it, also new this year, and a giant astilbe on the right.
This hosta is simply gorgeous.
A walk around the place isn't complete without mentioning the equipment necessary to keep the property in shape. This year I've had to do a lot of badly needed maintenance on the power equipment. I went over the brush cutter last winter, removed the motor, changed the oil, adjusted the valves and replaced filters and spark plugs. After putting it back together, it ran great, but when I started it up a few weeks ago for some real work it sputtered and died. After doing a carburetor rebuild (the kit is $50, for small parts and new gaskets) the motor fired right up last night and now runs great.
This is essentially a large (44") mower, towed behind the garden tractor, that will cut through rough growth. It's absolutely necessary to keep the rough grass on the outlying areas and the levee under control. With the machinery working, I feel like I'm ready for summer. Time to cut the lawn (with the mower, not with this) before the rains begin.