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Hot and Stormy July

Its no surprise that it's hot and humid. I can't complain as we haven't had any 100 degree days yet. The heat index registers in the triple digits, but not the actual temp. Thank goodness for echinaceas, bee balm, butterfly bushes and late blooming daylilies. The Black and Blue salvia will bloom again this season, but most are resting at the moment. We've had some gorgeous late afternoon skies with the build up of heat and humidity.

July sees an increase in Ruby throated hummingbirds here. The males are already migrating south to Mexico and Central America. The mothers and juveniles start their journey later in the season. The red bee balm has stopped blooming, but we have the Black and Blue salvia, lantana hedge and the feeder available.

The wild bergamot has been a bee favorite this year. I haven't seen hummingbirds ever using them.

We're still enjoying the increase in rabbit sightings this year even though they have eaten the golden oregano, woods phlox and tomato seedlings. This baby hopped into the pot to enjoy the oregano.

Most evenings before twilight we have rabbits next door munching on the clover and possibly three dahlias that are mysteriously missing. We had grand plans for six dahlias in two triangle patterns. Oh well, it will still be pretty later in the season even if its no longer "designed".

Speaking of next door, we have added native cultivars to the far back.Things are looking rough at the moment with the exception of the pink dogwood, which was planted about four years ago.

Northern Spicebush for the Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars and willow amsonia. This is still a work in progress.

The pink dogwood and a recently planted red bud. This was purchased from Lowe's without a named variety label. The Japanese maple Bloodgood did not survive this hot and dry location. The spirea bushes below the trees are doing well.

The Black Knight Butterfly bushes and day lilies are happy in their home.

Lady Elizabeth at twilight

Painter Poet

Each year we keep adding plants to the yard next door. It faces South and West, but a huge pine tree and a ligustrum cast a lot of shade until the late day. We've had some successes as well as failures. It's a tough site which we've been working on for about four years. The plus side is that we have a huge hedge surrounding the yard which provides a ready made backdrop and privacy.

A new addition for our back yard is Ruby Spice summersweet (clethra). I confess that I've let the lemon balm overtake it. I'll correct that this Fall or next Spring. The photo didn't capture any pink, but to be fair, it is hardly there in reality. Maybe, just a tinge of pink on the outer part of the petals. I've added these in the hope that they will support pollinators and hummingbirds.

The echinaceas are already going to seed. I continue to deadhead throughout the season but always leave some older blossoms for the gold finches. They love the seed.

The sounds of late summer have been here for a couple of weeks. It makes me feel like late summer is ahead of schedule this year. It's probably my imagination though.

Stay well!

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