One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Brilliant Colors

Sunday already. And as an extra surprise, it’s suddenly almost August. Darn, that happens every July. Wasn’t it just the Fourth? Anyway…it started out as a lovely day, bright and sunny, not too warm, almost no humidity. On the whole, t’was very nice. And since I’d gotten a very healthy night’s sleep (I seem to be dreaming about all you other bloggers lately, if the last couple of nights are an indication. Nice of you to drop in that way, at least!)

I just loved this combination of thistle and morning glory. I briefly considered the portulaca shot just below as the header image…but then I considered the purple shading in the throat of that morning glory, and how it seemed to completely pick up the purples of the thistle and well, polls closed.

Still, the way the sun was playing on these yellow portulacas, you can see where it might not be an easy call.

I was surprised to discover that it is still awards season. I’d thought the Tonys really were the last ones ’til next year…but then I was surprised this past week with an honor I’m a little belated about accepting, in the form of the Brillante Award.

The award was presented to me by Curt, over at Walking With Duncan, a blog which is most definitely high on my Daily Reads list. Every day, Curt and Duncan go walking and while Duncan tends to doggy business, Curt examines the world around him…sometimes at a distance, other times right up close.

That is, when he and Dunc aren’t wrestling in the grass…or bunny-hunting…or just watching the sun set over the Rocky Mountains. Most times, reading Walking With Duncan is as heart-warming and soothing as sitting in that patch of daisies in Bloom County used to be back in the Eighties. For a start, let me recommend “Dear Ken”, a recent post that doubled as love letter to his absent partner.

Curt is, as they say, made of teh Awesome.

I must say, the Brillante is one of the more stunning-looking awards, very tasteful and elegant. I can see it now, on a simple pedestal, refracting the sunlight in all directions in the garden, tho possibly also setting off a brushfire or two in the process.

I wouldn’t have it without my own audience of blog readers, though, you who inspire me with your visits and your own writing to keep finding even better pictures and more interesting or amusing things to say about it all for you…so thanks, everybody. (Yawn…) Hey, who yawned? Joe, it was you, wasn’t it?

Now the rules are as follows (because with these awards, it’s not just about basking in the limelight, taking a couple bows and catching a few bouquets chucked in your general direction): In accepting, I must now:

1) Put the logo on my blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded me (even tho he’s already in my blogroll…but he’s a W, so who knows how often you get around to scrolling down that far–the blogroll has just swelled with terrific reads of late, it seems).

3) Nominate at least seven other blogs. (The “at least” part isn’t hard…it’s the limiting to only seven blogs that’d be harder. But since the orchestra’s already starting to play in low under me, I’ll just direct you to scan the blogroll–there’s loads of great blogs to enjoy there!)

4) Include links to those blogs here.

5) Finally, I must then leave messages on the blogs of those nominated, so they can have their moment of glory, as well. Formal attire, folks, is not required.

[A note: I understand many of my favorite bloggers are busy folks, so I mean to thrust no obligation on you. I just think you’re terrific, that’s all, and this seemed like a fun way to say so!]

And so, with no further adieu, I’ll let the blogging hijinks begin with the links portion of the show. In no particular order, I present to you:

Strelitzia: Birdie is relatively new to blogging, but set up shop just in time to chronicle an amazing journey of growth and discovery she and her family experienced this spring. A self-described beach bum (among assorted other hats) she writes with warmth, humor and compassion on a variety of subjects. The world is only just discovering how lucky it is to have someone like Birdie in it. Plus she’s got excellent taste in music.

Lost in the Landscape: James is an artist/gardener who chronicles his adventures in nature as he gardens year-round on the edge of the desert in San Diego and explores the world around him. He’s all about examining and contemplating the natural world and our place within the larger scheme of it. His writing is simple and photographs are delightful…he even has a bog garden…so you can forgive his distaste for most yellow flowers. And now that the state of California has smartened up, he’s also a newlywed!!

Tiger By the Tale: Tigeryogiji is, well, how can I put this? Just fab-ulous! Formerly the Ashram at Pooh Corner, Tiger presents a day-brightening array of music video and still photos. But it’s not all Pet Shop Boys, ABBA and Bollywood Hunks. You’ll also find an amusing and thoughtful assortment of comments on current and personal events, including the latest adventures of the newly arrived, and highly adorable Teddyji.

My Life, Or Something Like It: What to say about Java? A friend to gay people everywhere, she writes with honesty and heart about the business and pleasure of riding herd on a houseful of kids and a husband named Superman. Hopefully, the air conditioning is finally fixed for the summer! I said to Java recently, “my computer wants me to upgrade to a new version of you, but I like you just the way you are.”

Loose Ends: Patrick is not just your typical mid-western hunk-turned-actor come to seek his fortune in Manhattan. With good humor and a heart the size of Central Park, his blog reveals to us the city’s best side with his regular sojourns in search of wild peacefulness in Gotham’s green spaces. And he’s my favorite blogger who makes a living showing his best side. His recent “music video” is not to be missed!

Sticky Crows
: Another daily pleasure for me. You never know quite what will spill from the mind of our beloved Tornwordo as he enjoys his morning bagel. There’s on-foot explorations of Montreal, married life, the always lovely Sara, the whole HNT business…or if we’re very lucky, something about poop. I’m sure he’d tell us he could quit Tootsie Pops anytime he wanted, and I certainly appreciate his support and cheerleading about staying smoke free myself (8 fantastic days now!). There’s some bonus crows down below, too!

Center of Gravitas: I’m sure GayProf has a whole closet full of these little statues, or he would, if he wasn’t continually declining such honors as a means of making political statements against the state of Texas and idiots in general. Of course, we can’t know that for sure. It’s entirely possible he’s been waiting for just such an occasion to break out that Wonder Woman outfit and lasso himself a shiny statuette with his golden Lariat of Truth. Hey, don’t laugh–this is serious. Remember: gravitas.

So, there you have it, that’s seven. Like I said, there’s a world of great blogs out there, though, so surf on over to one of ’em soon…but not til you finish reading here, buddy!

Whew…so, with that delightful honor out of the way (I’ll send out notifications when I’m through!), I turn your attention to the Garden. It’s what you all come here for anyway, right?

As you can see, things are delightfully out of hand as summer reaches it’s mid-point. I know, it’s not Mid-Summer…but as July prepares to fade into August, it’s suddenly clear the days are getting just a smidge shorter already (say it ain’t so!) and before too long, it’ll be time to worry about heating costs again.

But for now, there’s beauty spilling out everywhere you look in the garden.

While the daisies are making what is probably their last stand, the thistle has only just begun, the bachelor’s buttons are blooming more profusely with each day (and when it’s not windy, I’ll try photographing them some more!), and the curly grass is sneaking it’s way into everyone’s class photos.

This week looks like it will include the start of the long-anticipated cosmos and I noticed this morning that the Casa Blanca lily–my absolute favorite of the oriental varieties–should be bursting into glorious, perfumed bloom before long.

Crows just amaze me. I love to watch the way they walk and hop around. I love the sound of their voices – all their different voices – and the way they call back and forth across a territory to one another. It’s cool they all come to one another’s aid when one of the bigger predatory birds makes the scene with an idea about nest raiding.

Today, these guys were foraging around the grounds of the restaurant, where we’ve recently had a little treework done. I was happy they didn’t fly off as quickly as they usually do, because I just can’t get enough of a good close look at ’em.

Yesterday’s weather was glorious, sunny and warm with n’ary a hint of the humidity we’d seen earlier in the week.

A beautiful blue sky backed everything, punctuated with some dramatic and delightful cotton puffs of white cloud.

Today, the ride to work wasn’t quite so thrilling, as the skies behind those white clouds began filling in with more clouds, covering over that brilliant blue that makes my soul feel all happy and calm.

As one month draws to a close and another stands poised to begin, there was plenty for me to do in the office today, so I bought no disappointment about the weather. Especially since there was a good possibility I might not need to water the garden again tomorrow, if everything went well.

By the end of the afternoon, the skies were looking like this.

And also like this.

It grew darker and more cloudy as I headed for home and naturally, I was still not quite home when the first giant raindrops began to pelt, splattering large on the car windshield, as the first rumbles of thunder began to sound over the music on the radio.

By the time I’d parked, the sky was raining down fresh buckets of water and there was nothing to do but go inside and watch from the window, all the while explaining to Em that there’d be a slight delay on the evening’s walk and she should just calm down a little. : )

Fortunately, the first downpour didn’t last all that long, about fifteen minutes, and the radar map showed an even bigger business heading our way in a little while, so Em and I didn’t even wait for the rain to stop entirely, heading out for our nightly tour of Not Wisteria Lane.

On the way out, I spotted this creature on the flagstone path and managed to get Em to stop while I had a closer look.

Until such time as I hear back from the identification experts over at, I’m officially christening this the Big Horny Bug, as a sort of fun contrast to the whole church-y business of this morning. As always, I’ll update this when more information comes my way!

[EDIT: 7/28/08: This, I am told, is the Broad-Necked Root Borer, also known as P. latticollis. If you click here, you’ll learn that Java may have been right in her assessment to kill them as grubs: they essentially eat trees from the inside out. I wonder where this one had come to the path from.]
Apologies to those of you who are now hyperventilating at the sight of this creature, which was about two inches long. He was pretty mellow though, clambering easily onto a piece of wood I held out in front of him, but thankfully not creeping me out by approaching any closer across what was a small piece of wood as I transported him out of the pathway and into the rainy grass.

Here, take a look at these pretties instead:


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