Spring showers have brought forth summer flowers

In the not too distant past, we were wondering if we were going to have a repeat of the terribly wet and rainy summer we had last year. Right around the turn of spring into summer, it was raining at least once a week (or, at least, it seemed that way). Now in the throes of summer, we’ve yet to see any significant rainfall. That’s not to say its hasn’t rained, but it hasn’t rained enough to keep the rain barrels full. And as soon as it does rain, we use up whatever water collects almost immediately. So we’ve had to turn to supplementing our watering routine by pulling out the garden hose. We’re not sure we’ve paid as close attention to the weather ever as much as we have recently. Because with each promise of rain, we wait and watch.

But we’re keeping the garden as happy as we can make it. And over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen an abundance of flora pop up from all corners! We’ve highlighted our marigold extravaganza in past posts, but this time we figured we’d devote a whole post to them because they are quite something. But before that, other things are starting to flower up like the cucumbers:

Look close, and you might just see some teensy cukes as well!
Look close, and you might just see some teensy cukes as well!

And the zucchini:

Someday we'll get up early enough to get a shot of the a bloom when it's actually open.
Someday we’ll get up early enough to get a shot of the a bloom when it’s actually open.

And our day lilies are doing their thing:

They practically surround the house now with orange!
They practically surround the house now with orange!

But really, we’re here to talk about marigolds. Of all the flowers that we’ve attempted to grow from seed, we’ve found marigolds to be the easiest, hardiest, and most friendly of them all. The don’t need a ton of coddling or care; just keep them watered and they’ll become flowering powerhouses! The blooms last for several weeks, and new ones are always popping up. They’re also excellent at attracting pollinating insects, which is mostly good for the vegetable plants.

As we showed in our planting maps, we’ve planted a number of different marigolds throughout the garden. While many have taken off, some haven’t. For example, we invested in a very pretty variety called Harlequin and planted it in several spots throughout the beds. So far, it’s a complete no show.  On the other hand, the bright yellow Jaguars and the red and gold Tiger Eyes have completely brightened up the back yard. Just take a look!

Yellow Jaguar marigolds along the end of the "tomato jungle."
A band of yellow Jaguar marigolds along the end of the “tomato jungle.”
The Tiger Eyes are blooming in droves!
The Tiger Eyes are blooming in droves!
And they just keep going...
And they just keep going…
...around to the other side of the stone bed...
…around to the other side of the stone bed…
...and then back to the beginning again!
…and then back to the beginning again!

Heading out front, our sidewalk flower beds aren’t quite as filled in as we had hoped. Well, with flowers that is. The weeds in them seem to be doing just fine. It’s not great, and we debated abut pulling them all up (the weeds, that is), but then they’d end up looking very sparse. So, this year we’re calling them our “green flower beds,” and have been reconsidering what to do with them next year. (Like transplanting day lilies into them.) But here’s what they look like at present:

The left bed.
The left bed.
And the right bed.
And the right bed.

Looking at a few of the marigold clumps, we’ve got a couple varieties going strong. What hasn’t popped up at all is the Harlequin variety, as we already said, as well as a white variety called Snow Drift. (We planted them in the same bands as the violas and there are none to be found). But what has appeared is very lovely.

We’ve got at least one French Vanilla, also a white marigold variety:

It’ll look akin to a mum once it fully blooms.

And then we’ve got an assortment of French Dwarf and Citrus Mixed:

The French Dwarf marigolds have a layered puffy look, while the Citrus Mixed have broader and flatter flowers.

And then we also have this:

Well, sometimes french vanilla is a little yellow in color…at least in ice cream.

We’re not 100% sure that the puffy yellow marigold is a French Vanilla (as they’re supposed to be white), or some hybrid, or a an odd seed that got mixed into the packet. It’s definitely a very tall and lanky marigold like the French Vanilla. And it’s surrounded but a similar crop of plants that all look like they’re going to have yellow flowers as well. It’s hardly anything to complain about — we’re just happy that a handful of the flowers survived and are in bloom!


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