summer plant appreciation

There is something about high summer – the period that begins with the solstice and deepens through July – that makes slipping into the timeless expansive present so easy. All the summer crops are in and growing like crazy. Harvest activities are not yet in high gear. It’s not quite time to start the fall food garden (though it’s time to plan it, definitely). The days are so long that even with a full day’s work there is time left over – well, let’s say there can be. I remember not feeling that way, in other summers. This year I’m all about the timeless present.

Coreopsis tinctoria 'Tiger Stripes'

Coreopsis tinctoria ‘Tiger Stripes’

I’m aided by my token garden – a few pots of tomatoes, lettuce, and flowers (full disclosure: 43 containers), the tiny patch of transplanted perennials, the herbs and flowers out front, the California native sunflowers planted along the fence. Hand watering takes ten minutes every other day. Pruning, staking, weeding, fertilizing, fussing – another ten minutes max. The rest of the time I’m available for plant appreciation.

Michauxia campanuloides

Michauxia campanuloides

Fortunately plant appreciation can be done on any scale, and the smaller the scale the more time is available for it. I love the intimate relationship that develops with cultivated plants seen every day right outside my door. In the spring I visited Annie’s in Richmond and came home with starts for odd flowers I’d never grown (or seen, in the case of the Michauxia). I tucked them into pots with tomatoes and grapes and now I’m enjoying the astonishing results. Here are a few of them.

Mentzelia lindleyi

Mentzelia lindleyi

 

p.s.: I have a new crop of seed for Japanese Bunching Onion. July through September is a good time to plant it.