July has been gentle this year. We’ve had miraculously cool breezes and refreshing summer rainstorms. There has been no string of days over 100° F. Friends and family have had the energy to visit, and the flowers have had enough pep to welcome them with petaled smiles. Here is a list of “blooms” in my life and in my garden over the past month:
Tuberose: Many of the perfumes in the world use this flower! Here in Texas, the ‘Mexican Single’ is reliable. It is tall, elegantly beautiful, and, at certain times of day, its scent rivals the scent of a gardenia. I had a pleasant experience buying my tuberose bulbs online from a family in Tennessee. They included a Bible verse and extra (free) bulbs with my order! The bulbs they sent me have been blooming happily for several summers now.
* Cottonwood “snow” drifting down upon sisters as we twirled in Minnow Creek
* A giant orange ball of sun sinking in the sky
Surprise Lilies: The common name for lycoris squamigera is “naked ladies,” but if that is too embarrassing to say, many people also call them surprise lilies. Although the tops of their long stalks are bedecked in a dazzle of pink, their stems have nary a leaf (hence, the name, “naked ladies”). This is a remarkable plant. It actually does have leaves (but not at the same time as it has flowers.) The foliage comes in early spring, but soon it dies away, leaving not a trace, until . . . surprise! The naked ladies spring from the ground just when I’m beginning to doubt their existence.
* The description of Aslan’s face in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
* “Lord, I Need You” – This song is a great comfort (especially during a night when I felt the weight of my feebleness).
Hibiscus ‘Summer Storm’: The blooms are so surprisingly large and beautiful! When I first catch sight of one in the morning, I draw in my breath with an “Oh!”
* Friends whose love is not contingent upon my “accomplishments” in life
* Little One baking (and eating) granola bars with me
‘Grandpa Ott’ morning glory: I planted this vine years ago, and it won’t leave. It reseeds everywhere, sprouting up like tangled weeds. Sometimes I pretend I want it to disappear. I pull up most of the seedlings, but I always keep a few because I can’t bear to stamp out those marvelous deep-purple blooms.
* A tea party with three beautiful sixty-year-old Taiwanese women who’ve been friends since they were 18 and seem just as youthful today
* Watching Anne of Green Gables with a kindred spirit friend who truly is Anne come to life!
Black-eyed susan: Lovely wildflowers like these are some of the hardest plants for me to get started in my garden. Perhaps they thrive on neglect, and I care about them too much. In any case, I’m grateful they are finally taking off this sumnmer!
* Hubby staying in the room to listen to the picture book I was reading to the boys
* Laughing deep into the night with my eight-year-old son as we told made-up dragon stories
Four o’ clocks: If you were to check on my garden at 4:00 in the afternoon, these flowers would still be closed tight. I have a hard time finding them open because I’m usually cooking dinner at dusk, and I don’t often go out to water the plants before the sun is shining. I caught this picture on an overcast morning.
* Precious neighbor and friend walking over with all the ingredients to make avocado ice cream
* A friend saying to her rat terrier, “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”
Desperado sage (Texas sage): I finally planted this bush this year so I could look forward to purple blooms after rainstorms.
* A picnic at dusk with cicadas in concert
* The hope of a baby for a dear friend
Autumn sage: This plant is oh so tough, and sometimes it looks pretty to boot. 🙂 Late July has been one of those times.
‘Double Delight’ rose: The creamy petals on this rose are painted deep pink as more and more sunlight touches them.
Other July bloomers:
‘Don Juan’ rose