I slipped off to sleep to the serenades of cicada's and frogs around my home
and gardens and in the surrounding woodlands up here on the ridge. As I lay
in the waterbed, Sugar's back planted against mine on Squire's side of the
bed, I half smiled to myself as I thought how wonderful it is to be lulled
to sleep by these Summer sounds. It's spoiled me.
I've deliberately left my bedroom window cracked open just to let in the
sounds at night and some fragrances. The four o'clocks waif their perfume
in come late afternoon on the thick humidity that's hanging everywhere.
When I rise, I stand to gaze out at the tired, but still blooming and
incredibly overcrowded front gardens just outside my bedroom window. The
heat shoves the fragrances thru the screen.
It's late July. The heat and humidity do more than suck the life out of a
gardener. It draws every ounce of energy out of each plant, and animal.
Everything but the insects who are impervious to it are languishing about.
I suspect that most of the resident fairies are tucked away in cool, shaded
places. But for the one responsible for all the little hyper flyers. As I
went into the nook and sat gazing out of the nook's door window, my eye
caught a remarkable and slow ballet being performed. Anyone could watch and
enjoy if you sat or stood long enough as to be ignored by the performers.
My Harlequin Glory Bower tree has completely burst open in the July heat and
humidity. It's what it adores and loves. Everyone that comes up here on the
ridge are encouraged to walk over to her and gently rub a fuzzy leaf and
smell their hands.......Peanut butter. It's always intriguing to them that
the leaves smell like peanut butter.
But as I lay wakening the other morning, my nostrils were rewarded by
something much more wonderful than the musky smell of peanut butter. My
brain was stirred and I recognized the thick richness of it immediately
because I know what it was. It was all the blossoms of the Harlequin Glory
Bower. The smells of her are so thick, the wings of the butterflies are
slow like they're beating against sheets of it.
The perfume of it slides thru the tiny holes in the window screen of my
bedroom as easily as mercury would. I had lain there inhaling and again
thought how blessed I was.
When you stand gazing out a window that overlooks the Glory Bower tree, you
are not only rewarded by a nice little under story tree that is now about 9
feet tall, but once you open a window or crack a door against the heat, you
are rewarded instantly with the overpowering but not unpleasant smells of
very warm vanilla with a sharp twist.
I stood transfixed for minutes upon minutes, watching as the swallowtail's
and black metallic looking swallowtail butterfly dance with each other.
Lighting and supping and fluttering in apparent ecstasy upon finding my
cache of nectar, they dance on wings of slightly torn and battered gossamer.
A little copper butterfly hovers near the flowers, then it's direction is
changed and it flies over towards the pink butterfly bush that I planted
near the back of the NSSG and in front of the south nook window. I do that
for reason. I can sit and watch whom ever visits without disturbing them.
These vanilla mornings are wonderful. I don't take for granted each and
every moment. I now realize that if I were to have to move, I'd have to
leave my beloved Harlequin Glory Bower behind.
The heat abates a bit with a summer squall and I venture outside to see how
many frogs Piquito, my stubby tailed long haired youngster feline has left
me. I keep finding frog bodies in the house. I know he's to blame for these
murders. He finds them irresistible and it distresses me to find he's
killing them. I hope he hasn't spotted the gold fish down in the holding
trough of water where I put them to devour the mosquito larvae. they've
cleaned up the water wonderfully, and hide under folds of pond liner and
slabs of blue Carolina slate we've places next to the edges of the liner to
hold it flat against the bricko block walls.
The grass has fooled me. I would have insisted I had no lawn grass to speak
of, but the Bermuda fairy has decided I need some evil little sprigs of
grass to deal with once again. Now if I could just get the lawn mower fixed
instead of dealing with THREE FOOT of it with a weed
I have decided to refer to them as Summer tangles. It's like the grass is
intent on over running the raised boxes. And if not them, then the vinca
major I so foolishly under planted beneath the skirts of the Zebra grass,
trumpet vine and along the edges of the fig box. It's claimed the front
garden boxes again, and I yank it every chance I get......I feel like
Sisyphus at times................
Teleporting back to my nook and in front of the window, the hummers flitter
about the eastern clump of blue Enigma salvia that has risen again this
year. This year I have a ruby throat hummer as well as my regularly
returning Rufus hummers. He causes no end of problems with the regular
vacationers with his unexpected arrival this late spring. The Rufus male and
female valiantly defend their pantry and behind this in a raucous backdrop
of sound, the evening birds fill the airs with dusk song.
These last two days have given me over two and a half inches of pounding
rains and incredibly heavy dew and fogs early mornings and in this last
assault of an all day pisser, the pink butterfly bush has finally given up
it's fight to stay upright. I'll either have to tie it to the railings on
the boardwalk that leads to and from my nook door or whack it brutally.
And the rains seem to have scrubbed the heavy scent of the vanilla Glory
Bower blossoms from the immediate vicinity. I actually have standing
driveway puddles and all the butterflies take advantage of the mud and are
mineral sipping. I have them by the handfuls. When I come down the driveway
I go slowly so as to gently disturb them and am rewarded by butterfly
The evening light is perfect for taking a few pictures of stray blossoms, so
I'm slipping out into the unseasonably cool evening for a late July. The
Thermometer says 69o. I have to decide soon to yank out some of the
hundreds of swamp sunflower plants that have eaten 2/3rds of the front beds.
I adore their blossoms, but I can't find Lord Baltimore hibiscus this year.
I fear I've lost him and that would be truely a shame. I've had him for over
nine years. His redness was astounding and welcome in late July near the
pale cream of the Cumberland River wild hibiscus I dug so many years from
the banks of my home town river. It's just now coming into it's own this
I will slip quietly outside now, and I want to thank you for letting me do a
ramble. As always, there will be fairy updates and flower happenings as
they occur. It appears that Sugar dawg has started to settle into her role
as only dawg, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will have to get her a
little buddy. She is a dog person 100% and shows me this when we visit
friends who have dogs. She never met a strange dog she didn't try to play
with. Her diggings have slacked off that I can tell, and now I have to
discourage her from exploring my eastern woods as they are evil poison oak
and poison ivy infested tangles that no one who suffers from this vine is
It's hard to believe that it's almost August.......I find myself thinking of
fried green tomato's and fried okra and skillets of sweet Peaches and Cream
corn and some good thick cornbread. Tall, frosty mason jars of just
slightly sweet tea with a thick slice of lemon perched on the rim, and a
piece of peach pie on the side with a little vanilla ice cream. Soon it will
be field ripened watermelon to stick into the back fridge and eat on the
deck spitting the seeds into the woods in hopes one surprises me next year
with a gift of one perfect melon.
madgardener up on the rain soaked ridge, back in a water logged Fairy Holler
overlooking cloud draped English Mountain which is there somewhere behind
that blue gray misty curtain, in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
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