It’s HOT! and a WINNER! and mebbe a giveaway?

OMG!  You guys!  It’s HOT as fleck out there.  Rain.  Then HOT. 94F by 2pm. Which means …ick.  Bindweed, Creeping Charlie, sweat.  More sweat.  I have been trying to work in the garden but that means being up and out by 5am.  That’s fine, except.  I still haz to work my reg’lar job, y’know?  So toiling from 5a, then cleaning up and getting to my desk by 7a – and not falling stone-OUT! by 11?  Kinda rough on this old gal.  This weekend has been stunningly hot – El O got a wild hair and bought a new stainless steel grill – display special, so it’s already set up.  Brought it home at 2p, in the blazing sun.  It’s a wonder both of us didn’t sustain 3rd degree burns, getting it out of the back of the truck.

Therese Bugnet is in full flower – the most perfect rose smell evah!  She is nearly 7′ tall and you can smell her across the garden!

my T-Bug!

I haz a pair of Baltimore Orioles in my garden (they are nesting in the giant tree next door).  I nearly fainted when I saw them – I always wondered what the Big Oriole Deal was.  Now I know.  Great Jeebus, but the male is STUNNING!  Wish I could get a photo of ‘mine’ but I can’t pull myself together enough to get that done – by the time I get finished gasping at the sight of them, they’re gone.  Do any of you have Orioles?


and…omg!  it’s LOUD! in the garden.  I have a stunning number of birds in my garden, due to several huge trees surrounding the prop, as well as the 4 water sources I keep for them.  And I’m organic by design, so lots o’ bugs and worms – and my neighbors are organic because they don’t give a rat’s ass, bless them – they cut it and that’s that! – I have one neighbor who Chemlawns but he’s far enough away that I get no drift – ditto the Big Ag farms less than 3 blocks away – lots of trees and bushes and general Stuff to keep that anhydrous drift out.  As a result, it’s like an aviary over here – March and I were on the phone and she said ‘what the actual F?  Where ARE you?’  – apparently she could barely hear me over the birdsong.  I don’t even hear it anymore – I mean, I hear it, I just don’t HEAR it!  But it’s Loud.  Blessedly, beautifully LOUD!  Rachel Carson would be pleased, I hope.

Transplating Borage.  The only thing more cucumber-y than cucumber is Borage.  I love transplanting it because it just smells so damb fresh! Have had to thin out quite a few – I laughed because, as with poppies (and dill) I’m always hesitant, as if I won’t end up with hundreds of seedlings.  Spoiler:  I always do. I thinned probably 200 poppy seedlings and could easily thin 200 more.  Dill?  Don’t ask.  I went from worrying about it showing up to ripping it out by the handfuls.  I can only use/dry so much, y’know?  And Borage is a beast.  It will overwhelm my tomatoes.  Ripping out Borage is refreshing, though.  So crisp!


Dahlias are coming up!  Gawd, but they give me the flux!  It’s like ‘knockknock!  Are you guys in there(s)?? (there’s a LOT of dahls) – then, just as my nerves are thinking about getting shot over those stupid tubers, a little green pokes through…then BOOM!  A whole LOTTA green pokes through.  Eggshells, for you tuber-lovers.  Slugs are everywhere this year!

my HG of dahlias!

I’m not gonna lie here – I’m boring as snot right now because all I am focused on is work (which is going well, thank you) and working in the garden (which is going pretty well, too!).  I could tell you I am sampling new perfumes but right now I’m not because there is a wasp nest near (I can’t find it – in fact, I think there are two, maybe 3 – the one I did find is in an open tube, which I can spritz now (as opposed to a month from now, when I stand an excellent chance of being stung)

If I promise to do giveaways, may I bore you to flinders with Garden Tales?

Let’s start with this one – tell me something ‘grow-y’, even if it’s not YOUR grow-y (I know not everybody does this Garden Thang).  Or, if there is nothing grow-y going on, tell me a flower story.  Somebody will get a li’l sumpin’ from the messy armoire.


Winner of the Atelier Bloem samples:  well, this is weird – it’s PJ McBride!   it was your birthday, ….I think Skynet randomdotorg must’ve read your comment!  That is both fabulous and terrifying, in a pre-Terminator kinda way.  gmail your evilauntieanita with your mailing info and I promise to get them out pronto.

Happy Birthday!

  • DinaC says:

    I love your gardening stories too! My zinnias which I started from seed have sprouted up nicely. I planted four peony seedlings which are very slowly growing now. We’re getting a good mix of hot sun and rain lately. Everything is getting jungle-like. Had to prune back my American Holly which is enormous and trying to overtake the front steps. I love noticing birds. We get lots of cardinals.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Where I live, so many beautiful things will not grow. I have had trouble with getting daffodils to survive the winter, even though they are supposedly able to survive zone 3 latitude. Finally this spring one lonely miniature stuck up its little head and bloomed a sunny smile for me. It had spent the winter sheltered by an antique cream can, which I placed in that area of the garden where it appeared nothing was growing, then I moved this spring. Surprise! It made me so happy.

  • malsnano86 says:

    We’ve had enough Hot and Humid lately that the weeds are about to take over. I’m about decided to let ’em. I’m so tired of being so tired all the time, and I’m waiting for my thyroid test results to show up.

    My Sarah Bernhardts were so gorgeous, but they’re done blooming already. One clematis appears poised to take over the entire porch. We have apples and pears starting to fruit — just little hard green bumps on twigs right now, but yay!

    Half my Knockout rose got eaten by Japanese beetles last summer while we were on vacation. The other half is blooming exuberantly.

    I finally got sick of the humidity and turned the AC on, so I’m not hearing a lot of birdsong. Shame, really. (DNEM, I have enough samples making me feel guilty for not getting around to them.)

  • Kate E. says:

    After a terrible season last year that was all struggle and no reward I’ve decided to skip the vegetable plot this year. I’m starting a new job and I don’t think I’ll have the time it needs. However, my little one insisted on sunflowers in pots and they’re growing like wildfire. She also picked out a mixed seed packet of flowers but those aren’t interested in sprouting. Luckily, the rapid growth of the sunflowers has been impressive enough for her!
    We’re taking a trip to Portland next week for the Rose Festival so I’ll be strolling through the gardens there–I can’t wait!

  • Stephanie says:

    This is fortuitous timing because, after a breakup, I ended up moving from Los Angeles to northern Indiana for the summer and I have been indulging in all the gardening I haven’t had time or space for in the past years! I’m staying at my mom’s and helping to tend the wild and overgrown gardens out here. So. Growing things. Well, the wild lupine plant that I *cough* stole from a park has fully established itself throughout several spots. I’ve got dwarf morning glories, basil and dill started, and they’ve been super quick to sprout. I caught the tail end of my first lilac season in 6 years, which was wonderful. I think I forgot how much I love plants!

    • Musette says:

      sounds like you’re having fun! Dill…….oh, I do love it but OH! so very MUCH of it, once it gets established. You love those 3 frondy plants, waving in the breeze… year it’s 23. Then 123 after that. And so on and so on. Much like poppies! 3 years into Poppies. I’ve thinned over 200 plants – and it looks as if I’ve done NOTHING! lol! xoxoxo

  • MikasMinion says:

    I love your gardening stories. It’s too hot and dry already to do anything in the garden except move hoses and pray that everything survives until the next rain. We do have 2 pair of Hooded Orioles wrestling for real estate in our yard. They are so flashy and fun. When they’re not terrorizing each other or some other poor innocent songbird, they’re swooping around whistling their fool heads off and trying to spook the cats. Once the figs start to ripen and the Summer Tanager moves in to protect his crop, we’re going to be in for a real show.

    • Musette says:

      Holy cats & crackers! That tanager is GLORIOUS! I had two young male sparrows land in front of The Girl – they were tussling so hard they didn’t even notice her. She went to snap them up and got a snout full of claws and feathers. I nearly wet myself, laughing. She has steered clear of birds ever since. 😉 xoxoxo

  • Tatiana says:

    I love hearing your garden stories. I love a good garden but find garden work to be back breaking, torturous labor. That tells you what my garden looks like. Lots of CA poppies, salvia, calla lilies if they decide to come up, catmint and french lavender which was limping along until this year and now each one is almost three feet in diameter and over taking the front walkway. We’ve had years of drought, water rationing and have soil fungus, so even with the arborist’s help my trees aren’t as robust as I would like, except for the gingko. They are such hardy trees.
    For a while it was cool enough to sleep with the windows open and every morning around 5:30 I’d be woken up by one very loud song bird. Now it’s hot and I’ve got the AC going with the windows and shutters closed tightly.

    • Musette says:

      sounds like you’re doing well, even with all those challenges! We’re in AC mode, as well – I keep the blinds open-ish so I don’t completely lose track of the morning. That’s about all I can do. Heat is just HOT this year, innit? xoxoxo

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Before I moved to the Pacific Northwest I started looking at houses on real estate websites. I found the house I would eventually buy but didn’t see much of it. Exterior photos were taken from the side, mostly. Though it sits on a lot and a half, the front of the house was invisible behind two huge rhododendrons, fronted by two dogwoods, a vine maple, a blue spruce and a Red Cedar. The Cedar and one of the Dogwoods remain. It’s still shady but you can see the facade. It doesn’t look like witches live here anymore. In Texas, I gardened with tender loving care. Here, where the weather and soil always cooperate, I garden with a machete. There’s not much to gardening here. Stick it in the ground. It grows. No challenge. Meh. I confess, it’s beautiful if we weed, weed, weed.

    • Musette says:

      ROFL! I would be the happiest camper, EVAH! I am SO over the ‘challenge’. It’s 84F and raining, as I type this, so you know I know of what you speak. I’m sure tomorrow will bring a whole new crop of bindweed – and I will bring my hoe.


  • eldarwen22 says:

    It’s just too hot to do anything outside. And bees, tons and tons of bees, so I really don’t want to go outside. The lilac we have hasn’t bloomed as well this year as in years past. I’m still waiting for the owls to come back so I can sit on my deck and I can listen to them at night.

    • Musette says:

      I work alongside bees, no problem. But the wasps are a completely different story. I think a nest is being built underneath a border of Sum & Substance hostas. I’m being VERY careful over there. xoxo

  • hczerwiec says:

    Borage is such an underrated plant — I just love it. And I love all your birds! Crazy hot here in Minneapolis, too — 101 yesterday! But I had dug up some rhubarb and raspberry canes from a great-uncle’s huge yard, and had to get them in the ground here, so I just watered the hell out of them.

    • Musette says:

      Holy cats & crackers! 101F? Jeebus. In MINNEAPOLIS? (one of my favorite cities, btw – I used to love going up for work, then slithering off to Surdyk’s and the mystery bookshop over on…crap….well, the mystery bookshop. And Joseph Beck’s Florist – are they still there?


      • hczerwiec says:

        Surdyk’s is so yummy! There’s a Roger Beck Florist near downtown — is that who you’re thinking of? And Once Upon a Crime is still here!

  • rosarita313 says:

    It was 99F here yesterday and I confess, I spent the entire day inside worshipping the AC – the older I get, the less I can deal with the heat *wah* I’ll stop whining now. Ms A, I absolutely LOVE your garden stories, please don’t stop writing them!
    It’s been interesting here to see how spring bloomings have been affected by the coldest early spring ever, plus flooding rains. The lilacs didn’t bloom as much as usual and didn’t have as much scent but the lotv, which I love, is blooming in profusion everywhere I see it (my favorite). The spirea bushes are spectacular!
    My dad fed orioles and they had colonies visit for years. Their favorite food was Aldi’s grape jelly and he had rigged up a racoon free feeding station that had to be reached by a ladder; I tried to keep it going after he was unable to but it was just too much work – those beauties had to be fed twice a day and ate jar after jar of jelly. He enjoyed them so much. They still flit past, just checking in.

    • Musette says:

      ooh! Grape jelly, you say? Hokay! I’m on it! I put out some orange slices and mealworms, then had to go to WI for the day – we’ll see how it goes. I lucked out on the bulbs – it stayed cool through the Spring bulb flowering. Summer is here, though, and…

      ….wait. I just re-read your comment. 99? NINETY-NINE? OMFG!



  • Heather Raine says:

    We have some flowering bushes in our front yard from the last tenant a few years ago, and we keep an eye on them to keep them alive and well. Otherwise, not much active gardening this year. Maybe next year, a vegetable garden. Also, that borage sounds like it smells heavenly!!

    BUT the crowning glory of our yard (completely from nature, not cultivation)? Sprawling along the one fence of our house are verdant, lush crowns of honeysuckle, dangling like tendrils of sweetness. I smell them every time I walk out of the house and get in my car, and they are the most joyous thing. The other day I picked a flower, pinched the end, and pulled the thread out to get at a drop of nectar, like when I was a kid. Last year, our neighbor on that side insisted we prune down the bush on her side and I cried a little bit, but she’s moving out, so… honeysuckle for weeks!!! <3

    • Musette says:

      what a lovely visual you conjured up! Do you have hummingbirds? Mine adore my honeysuckle!(and don’t fret on the prune – plants have a way of adjusting, so in as-close-to-‘all likelihood’ as I can get it, chances are the bush will flower even more prolifically on YOUR side)


  • MMKinPA says:

    My front yard is sadly only populated by perennials that the deer won’t eat. We have a serious deer problem here. In the back, I finally had someone come to build up the beds around the fence line so I can start to plant things. Next summer it should be lovely…..

    • Musette says:

      oh, there are SO many gorgeous deer-resistant perennials! I’m sure it’s lovely! xoxoxo

    • malsnano86 says:

      My parents live in a subdivision built at the base of a mountain (as time has gone on, developers have built farther and farther up the slopes, because Humans Are Stupid and we’ll do it because we can, not because we should) and they have ALL THE DEER. Like, seriously, we were eating lunch there last week and this little buck came up within two feet of the big picture window in the dining room and ate grass. Kept glancing up at us, as if he were saying, “you don’t mind, do you? all the other plants are gone.”

  • Marianna says:

    I have black thumbs – I have managed to kill a cactus once – and not because I over-watered it. Our front yard is pretty much a loan, something that I never have to touch!!

    • Musette says:

      “Man’s got to know his limitations” – Dirty Harry. I can’t make biscuits to save my LIFE. So, after 30 years of trying, I finally quit trying! lol! I also suck at germinating certain (okay, most. Okay. ALL) seeds inside. You are not alone! 😉 xoxo

  • Koyel says:

    I LOVE your plant stories! I love plants too, but all I’ve got to work with is a smallish balcony. I’ve got gardenias blooming ferociously, along with two kinds of smelly roses, a bunch of herbs, a lime tree, baby roses and irises, and a jasmine, camellia, and peace lily that aren’t interested in flowering 🙁 Also a pot of freesias that show no sign of life. I had dahlias last year, but they all got sick, so we decided not to try again this year. Anyway, I love seeing fruits and flowers on my plants, and hope to have a real garden someday!

    • Musette says:

      that balcony sounds like a ‘real garden’ to me – and it also sounds heavenly! xoxo

  • nicevulady says:

    Its too hot to do anything here, except watch the weeds grow in the high humidity and heat. The garden keeps looking back at me and I keep looking at it. If it was just not quite so humid… I can’t bring myself to get out there early in the morning. Bravo to you.

    • Musette says:

      I am diurnal as F, NVL, at least in the Spring and Summer (come Autumn I’m back under the covers, weeping uncontrollably). So getting up and out in the garden is easy-peas for me. Ask me about nighttime, though…;-) xoxo

  • Before my most epic green thumb exploit, firstly I am hugely jealous, like insanely so, of your Amazonian rain forest-like plethora of birdies!!! Ugh! I miss them so much now that I am living in the middle of a concrete city. Waahhh! But…in past years I did see that most gorgeous of gorgeousness Baltimore Oreale. Thought I would weep with awe!
    Gardening glories? Yes please! My bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes, organically grown by my somewhat arthritic hands. Aunt Rubie’s German Green being THE most luscious green tomatoe in the WWW! The size of a beefsteak tomatoe. Flavour was incredible. Sweet but beautifully balanced with the perfect amount of acidity. Oh my! That was a bumper year for yours truly. One evening we dined on an enormous platter of multi-coloured thickly sliced heirloom mot-mots. The afore-mentioned green also purple, yellow, orange, red and striped. The whole colorful lot drizzled with EVOO, lovingly dusted with Camargue Sea Salt, and finished with a fairy sprinkle of garden fresh basil.
    Yes. It was a feast to be sure. Had an Oriole graced us with its presence that would have been magical!

  • roseyposeyleo says:

    It’s too hot too soon! I’m ready to lie down in my garden. My favorite flower is heliotrope. If there is a perfume out there that has this scent please let me know. I will bathe in it!

    • Musette says:

      Get thee to Surrender to Chance, type in heliotrope! and I’m with you on the ‘too hot, too soon’ Not even June and it’s in the mid-90s! xoxo

  • Kathleen says:

    Finally, after five years, my yellow rose bush is full of buds! Super exciting to me, I usually get flowers in August. The yarrow bushes are huge this year and blooming as well as the smoke bushes the biggest ever. We planted everything five years ago, so maybe this is the year for the spectacular growth!

    • Musette says:

      Sounds like it! My Harrison’s Yellow is off the CHAIN this year, ditto my William Baffin rose – both are in their 3rd year – and this year is hot and wet, great for growth. Sometimes it just takes awhile. xoxo

  • gina says:

    It’s been 90 here. I went and groomed, saddled horses, rode for three hours each day and cut and penned cattle. Sweat a bathload and drank lots of water. My growy story? Well, I went away for four days to a ranch. my neighbors bring in the mail and do the litterboxes plus food and water for the cats. I asked them to water my lovely blossoming ground cherries in a pot in the back and the basil in front. They didn’t. I came home to dead crunchy plants and cried.

    • Musette says:

      that happened to me last year, with a pot of Teddy Bear sunflowers (it turned over and El O didn’t ‘see’ the 14″ wide pot laying on its side, I guess) Everything else was okay but those poor sunflowers…:-( xoxo

  • Janet in California says:

    Sounds lovely in your yard. Labyrinth is my holy grail dahlia too. Mine came up about 3 inches and stalled then die. The tuber was rotten. ALL of the other dahlias in that bed are fat and happy. So sad. I will order 6 Labyrinth in the fall.

    • Musette says:

      that happened to me last year! Broke mah hort. I’m hoping for better results this season. Wonder why it’s so ‘iffy’? xoxo