Friday, June 5, 2015


Hummingbird at our feeder June 5, at sunset (light transmitting through red glass onto the bird)
 After a few days of rapidly-moving dark clouds dumping sudden bursts of rain and some smaller showers in between, we are anticipating a long warm dry spell here in the South Okanagan.  The tourists rejoice and children will want to be out of school.  Summerland's Action Festival will have great weather this weekend.

The weeds and the plants are racing to outgrow each other.  I have a mint plant that scared me with its quadrupled size in the last week.  The children are going to grow tired of virgin mojitos with Schwepps ginger ale.  I tried a mint ice cream recipe using fresh mint leaves a few years ago, but its texture was reminiscent of licking velour, so we quickly abandoned that.  Perhaps we used the wrong kind of mint?  This year, we have spearmint...a lot of it.  I do have the plant sunk in the ground within a large container, but it has escaped to the surrounding soil though it will ultimately be restrained by some nearby retaining walls. 
Thornless blackberry blossom, June 5
 My Blanc Double de Coubert rose is already done blooming, but I pulled a bunch of developing rosehips from it to try and get some more flowers.  That rose has a lovely scent, which is a big part of why I bought it, besides its low maintenance needs.  It had flowers for about two weeks.  I think the Red Meidiland shrub rose (pictured) is supposed to have a longer blooming season, but it doesn't have much scent.  The color really stands out though. 
Red Meidiland shrub rose, shaded in evenings and mulched well
 I love planting rock garden plants in crevices, which possibly appeals to my love of miniature things.  I have been stuffing a variety of Sedums and Sempervivums (hens and chicks), Thyme and little buns of Draba in these spots.  The thyme likes a bit more water and shade (they get the water that trickles through the earth from the underground drip-watering system).  The sempervivums are very hardy even in drier spots, and sedums seem at least moderately hardy.  I like the low-growing, carpet-like sedums at the tops of the rocks (Sedum album "Orange Ice" is in bloom right now), where they cascade over the edges.  Thyme blooms early in the summer, but the creeping green mats of thyme still look amazing the rest of the year.  Make sure though to get the lowest and densest varieties of thyme.  "Elfin" is great.  Wooly thyme has a fascinating textural effects.  The edible type thymes would not be suited for this kind of planting. 
Thyme (foreground) and sempervivum in crevice between granite boulders
The vegetable garden (in stock tanks) is growing enough lettuce to feed an army.  Will kids notice it in smoothies?

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