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."

Summer Celebrations


So, here we are, midway across the sparkling pond that is summer.  Yes, I know “mid-summer” was a month ago, but I always feel like mid-July is sort of the half-way point, so humor (or ignore) me.  It’s been sort of an odd summer, I think.  Weather-wise, anyhow.   We went right from the incessant rains of June into some lovely summer sunshine for July’s arrival, although it has more often than not felt like delightful September, with bright golden sun and cool temperatures.

The rains of the early part of the season may’ve caused a little trouble for some bedding annuals, but perennials are responding pretty well to all that and I have perhaps never seen such a lovely crop of shasta daisies, rudbeckias and daylilies and such.


Those of you who’ve followed my progress  in settling into the Nest this past year may be interested to hear that I have finally vanquished the clutter monster who’d claimed the dining room table as his domain, and about the time I got the rest of the room looking nice, with seating around the table and some re-furbished photos-of-friends collages up on the wall.

The latter are especially important to me:   the dining room seems like the place where one welcomes friends, after all, and this last year has been nothing if not an exercise in remembering just how important and lovely it is to have good friends all around.

I think it looks pretty sweet and just to finish it all off, one of the new crystals I bought for the windows last month sprays rainbows across the walls here, on the sunny mornings, anyway.   Really, it’s not “finished off” yet, since I do have a bench to stain and upholster and a search for the right cushions for the other seats.


I was happy to find the red star tea candle holder, which hangs above the table.  And He Who Must Be Walked loves to stretch out on the new green cushioned bench.

I’d originally bought this stencil pattern when I first moved into the Nest last fall.  My initial scheme had been to use it to fashion a sort of chair-rail stencil around the dining room, hopefully making the ceiling seem just a smidge higher by splitting the wall.


Since then, I’d discovered the not-exactly-square nature of the walls and it had begun to seem as though a “straight” line that went all the way around the room might’ve been both unrealistic and frustrating, as goals go.   However, the short closet door leaves just enough blank wall space over it for a bit of stencil as an accent in the room and I think I like it better than a full chair rail of the stencil.



Having been reminded by blogger Joebear that Bear Week has just begun during my last visit to Provincetown, I was sort of eager to head back out that way to enjoy the festivities.   So I was excited to hear that my recently married friends, Dan and Phill, were planning a weekend visit (it was also sort of a honeymoon trip) that was going to coincide with some rare weekend time off for me.  As a special treat, they brought our Cape Cod summer’s first taste of humidity with them from Connecticut.


Our big day started with a truly fabulous breakfast at their Inn (familiar, Marc and Jess?), right here in my neighborhood, while we got caught up.  Dan and I were friends from college, and have stayed in touch through emails and IMs here and there throughout the nearly-seventeen years since we  last looked upon one another.  Phill and I have only become acquainted more recently through Facebook, but it felt like we were old friends after about half an hour, too.

We considered a whale watch tour, but decided we could maximize our day’s activities by staying in Provincetown and simply wandering about, enjoying one another’s company and the local scenery and doing a bit of shopping.


Well, I did a little bit of shopping.  But these boys can power-shop and so I also got to spend a little more time snapping photos for that forth-coming Gardens of PTown blog post I’ve mentioned before, as well as enjoying the local scenery and spending some time in the sun.   Anyone know what the flame-shaped flower is in the photo below, by the way?  I found it in a container garden outside a shop, but have never seen its like before.


It was a real happy day for Greg, as I celebrated a full year of resisting the temptation of cigarettes.   On some levels, its been the challenge you would expect, but in many other ways, quitting cigs was just one more in a serious of healthy choices I was making a year ago and knowing that, it’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

Anyway, Saturday was a day for celebrating and I loved doing so with friends who were doing a little sweet celebrating of their own.  After the afternoon in Provincetown, we returned to our part of the Cape, where we had a great dinner at a favorite local barbecue joint, before rounding out the day with one of our Cape Cod Bay sunsets and dessert back in the sweet air conditioning of the Inn.



The guys had to leave Sunday morning – it was perhaps too fast a visit (my goodness, people come and go so quickly here…), but a good one, and I think we shan’t wait twenty years before doing it again.


Honestly, I was happy for a quiet Sunday afternoon, since Saturday’s heat had taken a lot of out of me.   This was my first real taste of such weather since moving into this second story Nest and it was freaking steamy up in here.


My one fan was helpful, but not entirely up to the task, so I bought a second one and some strategic arranging helped to cool things off.  I spent much of Sunday napping, or sitting still in cool breezes…or, of course, walking the Kitty.  ; )

While I was wilting a little, I’m happy to say that the rest of the gardens are thriving in such conditions.   Resting up on Sunday was key, since I need my energy to keep all those container gardens on the porch well-watered.

Next year, I swear I will buy those self-watering conversion kits, for sure!  Who knew zinnias were such thirsty little bastards?  Hey, but look at how my nasturtiums have taken to the tropical temps…



I’ve been enjoying my porch gardens, though as temps rose this past few days, I’ve had to get up a little extra early in order to be able to enjoy some time with coffee (and get some watering done) out there before it gets too sunny and hot to relax out there.


Of course, I long ago learned that any relaxation in the garden is always a fleeting pleasure, since as soon as one settles in place and takes a sip of coffee or some cooler beverage, the gardener’s eyes land on some faded bloom that needs to be snipped or some other project just waiting for attention.  It’s part of the fun, really.

The sweet peas are blooming steadily now that they’ve begun.  I cut some every few days to bring inside and scent the Nest.  In another part of the “forest”, those cardinal climber vine seeds that Theresa sent have begun to put out their fancy-looking true leaves, and before long will be twining up the branches with the morning glories, who’ve also been inspired by the recent heat.


Yesterday, our little heat wave (it kicked my butt, but after the April-ish temps of June, I have no business complaining…) began to settle down a little and when I woke up this morning, it was raining heavily and all the gardens were celebrating.

I couldn’t have been happier.



Comments on: "Summer Celebrations" (4)

  1. Congratulations on a year of smokelessness! Although I acknowledge that quitting the cigs is really tough, it seems like your attitude has made it a stellar experience. I’m tickled pink for you!

    So cat walking has become a regular part of the daily routine, has it? Or as regular as possible, anyway, with your schedule being what it is. Cats are amusing. Gardeners are amusing, too. :)

    The flowers are lovely, as always. Thanks for the hydrangeas!

    Regular? Would I describe the cat-walking as “regular”? Hmmm. They are daily, anyway. I try to make sure we get one most days, so I’m not getting yelled at after dark about how we missed our chance and have to go NOW. He is willing to go two or three times a day, I suspect, but I see this as a slippery slope. I thought the wet grass that followed today’s rainy day might cancel walking for this evening, but it just made us walk more carefully and climb up on some stuff. We do mostly amuse one another, too. : )

  2. What a great batch of eye candy! My favorites are the ones full of smiles.

  3. Those are some gorgeous colors of pansies. Glad you had a great time in ptown. I’d like one of those banks filled with Susan B Anthony’s please. I’ve never been to ptown or to the northeast very much so I’d love to go sometime.
    You have a great smile in the pictures.

    Thanks, Rick – you’ll have to let me know if you plan to come get yourself a piggy full of dollars!

  4. Congratulations on a full year of no smoking!! This is great. I just noticed you shaved off your moustache. You must have felt naked the first hour or so.

    Your flowers are simply beautiful, Greg.

    We had a few days here of hell. I was in Tacoma, Wa yesterday and the temperature reached 111 degrees F.
    On my way home the temp stayed in between 107 and 110 degrees. I’ve been staying indoors where it is much cooler.

    Butch, I’m glad to hear from you; I’ve been hearing about all that heat you’ve had and glad you’re hanging in there. The moustache went away in February, so especially “yes” on the naked thing. ; )

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