Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Friday, August 1, 2014

7QT: Garden Views, Bee Stings, Beet Chips, Trees are good for you

I did not get my Garden Views: End of July in before the end of July.  So, I combine that with today's 7 Quick Takes.

~  ONE  ~
Bee Sting

The front porch was in desperate need of a hosing down.  Too many summer nights of small, flying things that are attracted to lights.  In my zeal to clean everything, I inadvertently stirred up a nest of . . . bees? wasps? hornets?  I don't know what stings and what doesn't.  Pain.  Arnica tablet, arnica gel, benadryl.  Two days later, still a bit itchy.

~  TWO  ~
Attracting Nature

But, that's all right; stings happen.  The garden was planned with nature in mind.  Nature and I co-exist very well, usually.  Here are some of the ways in which the garden is feeding the local bird, butterfly, and bee population.  There are so many bees, in fact, I cannot help but think we are counter-acting any local colony collapse disorder single-handedly.

I have four butterfly bushes and I thought that perhaps they hadn't survived our unusually harsh winter. They were slow to flower and aren't very prolific, but they are blooming.  And they smell heavenly!

Bumble bees can hide inside hosta flowers.  I thought I was alone when I was pulling weeds and suddenly a large bee came out of one of these flowers.

~  THREE  ~
Critters Attracted

A number of bees, buzzing about the flowers in the clethera bush.

Something has spun a web in the lavender.  See that opening in the center of the photo?  Try to ignore all the clover growing amongst my lavender.  I'm allergic to clover, so I don't like to pull it unless I'm well protected.

~  FOUR  ~
Lovely Flowers

Random shots of flowers around the garden.  Or cut from the garden.


~  FIVE  ~
Fruit and Veg

A few years ago, I was chatting with a handful of employees at my favorite garden center about staking tomatoes.  I haven't found a system, yet, that is perfect.  One of the experts said he never stakes his; he lets them grow like ground vines.  I'm doing that this year.  It seems to be working well.  These are my plum tomatoes.

Cayenne!  I haven't bought dried red pepper flakes from the stores in years.

No photos, but the bell peppers are doing okay.  Tomatoes coming along, but not prolific.  It's been too cool this July for the nightshades.  My onions are coming along and not all of them are tiny.

An apple is peeking out!  I think the raspberries are planning another go around; no photos of that.

~  SIX  ~
Walls of Green

Last months End of Month Garden Views showed photos of my walls of green.  I mentioned that being surrounded by greenery has a calming effect on me.  Childhood backyards; a British garden that was mine for a short time: both provided me with green screens where I could retreat from busyness and noise that is not family noise.  (There is always 'family noise' in my gardens.)  Turns out that my brain might be wired to find these "walls of green" relaxing.  Courtesy of Modern Mrs. Darcy, there's this:

If You Live Near a Park, You're More Likely to Be Happy

I love it when science supports something I've known all along!

~  SEVEN  ~

No photos, but I'm thrilled to have found another CSA.  I belonged to one a few years ago, but they folded.  The new one is a personal connection; a co-worker of my husband's.  So far, two boxes of produce.  Good stuff in it!  Last week, I had beets I wasn't sure what to do with at the same time that we were doing Tex-Mex for dinner.  I turned to the Internet and found:

Beet Chips! 

That is not my photo.  Mine were a bit larger than that.  Quite tasty.  A good way to get young children to eat beets.  I will be doing that recipe again!

I hope there aren't too many typos or formatting errors.  I've run out of time!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Thanks to Jennifer for hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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