This time of year, I tend to get bogged down in details: squash bugs showing up on my watermelon vines; tomato blooms that won’t set fruit because the temperature is 95 degrees; trying to keep everything watered (including me!) in unrelenting heat. I ask myself “Why the heck did I plant so much?”
Last Thursday night, after spending an hour picking squash bugs off my watermelon (yuk!), I sat in the rocking chair on my deck and made myself list a few things that I appreciate right now in hot, humid July.
I appreciate every single late afternoon thunderstorm we get. Yay! That’s one night I don’t have to water anything! Have you ever noticed how everything looks just a little bit greener after a good storm? There’s a valid reason for that. Lightning makes nitrogen in the air into a bio-friendly form that plants can use.
I appreciate the garden spider in the crepe myrtle in the front yard. It has caught eight Japanese beetles so far in its web. That’s eight Japanese beetles I have not had to hand-pick off my Knock-out rose….I think I’ve seen a few mosquitoes and flies in the web, too. You know, I have customers every year who want to know how to get rid of spiders in their gardens! My question for them is “Why?”
I appreciate the black snake that occasionally suns on the back deck. Yes, snake! I think he’s the reason I’m not finding mice damage in the tool shed anymore. I try to remember spiders and snakes are good guys in the garden.
I appreciate the bees and butterflies that finally discovered the clover I planted in the backyard. I love to sit on my deck in the morning and watch honeybees and little brown skipper butterflies flit from flower to flower. Who needs grass when you’ve got this to look at?
I appreciate the hummingbirds that zip around the Mandevilla vine growing up the shepherd’s crook where I hang my hummingbird feeder. Mandevilla is a fast-growing tropical flowering vine I plant every year. Hummers love it. I don’t have enough space to bring it in for the winter (my citrus trees take up all the space) so I just let it go in the fall and get a new one next spring. It’s well worth it!
I appreciate the caladiums in my shady front flower bed. Every day I pull up in front of the house to these beautiful heart-shaped red, white and pink leaves. Nothing has nibbled at them and they’re not wilted or droopy like the impatiens that used to be there would have been.
I appreciate the bats that flitter overhead. One bat can eat up to 8000 mosquitoes a night. I wish the bats would bring a few more friends….
It’s easy to think about what I appreciated in my garden at Thanksgiving when the challenges of the previous summer are nothing but a memory. But I needed to do it now. And now I feel better….
I’d love to know what you are appreciating most in your garden this summer! Share in the comment section below.