Blog Archives

SUMER IS ICUMEN IN, or the sunny side up of today’s summer solstice.

I am totally convinced that ye olde English learned how to spell and write the same way kids in kindergarten and pre-school learn how to write today … by sounding out the words and writing what they hear. (Hopefully, they’ll learn how to spell correctly before they reach college, because spell check will never save them.) 

[back on topic]

Today was the summer solstice (aka. the first day of summer) in the northern hemisphere where West Walnut Manor is located. That means also means today was supposed to be the longest day of the year for sunlight. The sun supposedly came up at 5:15 locally. I can’t verify this because no one in their right mind gets up at 5:15 on a Saturday morning. And it won’t set until 8:29 CDT this evening … in total yielding 15 hours and 13 minutes of daylight.

So, to enjoy the bright side of summer, I took a photo tour of my now summer garden.DSC00011

My ROSE OF SHARON shrubs are now about six feet talk and loaded with buds and blossoms from top to bottom.DSC00010

And right now, they are picture perfect.DSC00012

My over abundance of white lilies has been joined by a single red lily.DSC00014

So the white lilies will just get a single close-up today.DSC00019

In the back the petunias are blossoming out all over the deck.


And the dianthus or pinks or sweet williams great me with smiles and spicy smells every morning. They deserve a close-up, too.DSC00018

And that’s how my garden is growing on the first day of summer.



Or … is this one of my phantom aliens?


Or … once upon a time in a Rose of Sharon blossom.

I particularly like the snowfall of pollen and/or fairy or pixie dust.

Mood music to accompany close-up viewing of photo … 


Reading is HOT! Even HOTTER when it’s HOTTER!

Well, it’s heading for 106〫again today … and I’m staying in and reading my book. Been reading it for some time and I’m not even 2/3 through.  Thankfully I’ve got it on my Kindle reader, would never be able to tote the 1008 page print version around. If you’ve been watching the TV series, expect a lot of twists and turns in Season 3 and 4. Yeah, the book is so thick they need two seasons to tell the story.

So, I’ve been staying inside while the out-of-doors is actually turning into Arizona.



My lawn crunches when I walk on it; and they say we need 15 to 19-inches of rain to get back to normal. Haven’t had any real rain since early in June.

I do give the front flower beds a good soaking every day, but it dries up by mid-afternoon. The flowers are still blooming … only most are a tad smaller than they were in the spring.


My lacy ballerina flowers have finally added some blue flowers to the many white plants that were blooming.


And the white plants are producing some rather unique seed pods.


And the ants are busy moving aphid eggs up to the sweet Rose Of Sharon blossoms to hatch and collect nectar.


And I have no idea what this guy is doing.


Well back to the AC and my book.




Well, it’s time for another report of what’s new and exciting in this year’s flower beds.

The hibiscus are still the most prodigious bloomers. They seemed to laugh at this week’s over 100 temps … 103F being the top so far … as long as they get their daily ration of water in the form of artificial raindrops.

Followed in second place by the self-seeded dwarf marigolds that like Topsy, “Just growed!”


New this year are the Candy-stripe zinnias in two different color variations.

And returning for the 25th growing season is my mother’s apricot gladiola. Back in the early 80s my mother planted a whole row of these beauties along the side fence, and every fall she would dig all the bulbs up and replant them the next spring. One year she dug them up, but they all rotted out over the winter. But come spring one lone plant surfaced along the fence. She didn’t dig the bulb up that year, and every year since it has returned to bloom yet another year. This is quite unusual for a gladiola, and I’m not going to tempt fate by digging it up in the fall.

My biggest surprise this year was the fact that my Rose Of Sharon bushes started blooming. Three years ago I was waiting at my MetroBus stop next to the convent behind St. Mary’s Hospital when I noticed that the hedges bordering the grounds were loaded with seed pods. Since the seeds would have fallen on the concrete sidewalk, I plucked several of the pods and carried them home. The next spring I planted the seeds and I have been nursing six plants for the last two summers. Early in July the plants started showing buds, and this week flowers started opening on two of the plants. The color range for the flowers can run from red to white.  The Rose of Sharon is not the plant mentioned in the bible — that plant was really the crocus. The Rose Of Sharon is actually a member of the hibiscus family Hibiscus Syriacus that can grow to 8 to 12 feet tall. They can be trimmed to become a hedge.

And that’s what’s up!