Yesterday was summer solstice. As seems to be our habit lately, we didn't celebrate it particularly, but we did remember it. We're trying to start marking these seasonal markers, but finding it rather hard to know how to do it appropriately. Copying supposed ceremonies from religions that do (or did) mark these days seems too contrived and somehow disrespectful for people who aren't actually members of those religions. Starting your own meaningful traditional ceremony is turning out to be amazingly hard.
The ceremony we really need is a rain dance. We are dry, dry, dry. According to last Saturday's paper, from last Sept. 1 to the prior Thursday (June 15) was the driest such period on record for the Mobile area since record-keeping was started in 1930. Even with almost nonstop watering going, I'm starting to see signs of major water stress in the yard - I'm probably going to lose the Hummingbird clethra in the front yard, and the autumn ferns under the live oak are looking crisp. Areas of grass, especially in the sunny areas of the front near the pavement, are drying out almost as fast as I can water them. I'm dreading the water bill.
The tree people haven't come yet to cut down the dead pine tree. I'm just trusting that they will come before the first hurricane. Meanwhile, the second pine tree has several branches that have died at the top, leaving me trying to decide whether to go ahead and cut it down or keep hoping that it can seal itself off and recover. The cynical, paranoid part of me says that the tree folks are just waiting as long as possible to see if that second tree dies so that they can make twice as much money.
I'm feeling like a prisoner in my own house, sitting here waiting while the painters work. Since I don't want to bother them, I'm basically confined to the kitchen and living room, but I have very little to do in here. (They've been working on the hall, upstairs and downstairs, for a week now and they are still not done.) So I'm reading my back issues of The Sun, reading and writing blogs, and watching a little TV. And talking way too much to the animals. I worked through the backlog of charity appeals on Friday, baked cookies on Monday and had a plant sale meeting yesterday morning, but otherwise I'm just sitting here trying to keep from going crazy. It's getting harder and harder each day.
Good news from the garden:
Patty's pink crinum is blooming for the first time. It's a very pretty, fresh shade of medium-light pink.
My pink Amarcrinum (a cross between an amaryllis and a crinum) has a big pink bud on it too. I'm looking forward to seeing that bloom as well. This is the second year it has bloomed.
The summer phlox is blooming. Although I have at least 3 different varieties, they are all blooming the exact same color of fuschia, leading me to suspect that they've reverted. They're still pretty, and hopefully they've managed to retain the mildew resistance that was one of the characteristics I selected them for.
Last but not least, the Grape Sensation gaillardia has another bloom at long last, despite almost being uprooted by the armadillo. Actually, the plant's looking pretty healthy overall. It's supposed to be a hort variety of an endangered species, so I'm particularly excited that it seems to be thriving in the garden. It wouldn't be the first time that gardeners have rescued a plant from the brink of extinction, but it would be particularly exciting to be part of the rescue!
Speaking of a plant almost uprooted by the armadillo, there are no major developments on that front. The damage has been lighter lately (and almost nonexistent last night), but I've learned my lesson about premature celebrations.
Send thoughts of soaking, gentle rains our way!