Friday, July 24, 2020

late july gardens

Hello friends! Summer is in full swing here in Illinois and I wish it would never end. It's such a short season here. I love the sunshine, all the flowers and the green lushness of the landscape. I don't like the humidity, but it sure beats our loong, gray, bitterly cold winters.

On July 20th, we moved into this house 30 years ago. Hard to believe we've been here this long. Will we stay here "forever"? Hard to say.

As always with being a home owner, there's projects to be done. Yesterday, Brian worked on putting in edging on the new front sidewalk, while supervised by Clementine.

The dreaded mulberries have finally stopped falling, for the most part. We can once again use our patio. And walk on the walkway without stepping on mulberries and smelling rotting ones and having buzzing, nasty flies all over the place.

But now the patio is stained and filthy from all the berries, so Brian will have to power-wash it. The projects just never end!

One new thing we just bought for the patio is this Suncast deck box. It holds all the patio seating cushions and pillows. Every time we'd have a threat of rain, we'd have to remove all the cushions and pillows and bring them into the garage...then haul them back out again. Not only a pain, but we also didn't have room in the garage to store them. They were thrown willy-nilly in the garage, piled on top of whatever we could find.

Now all we need is another cushion to put on top of the deck box, so that we have extra seating. I'm waiting until next month when outdoor items go on clearance.

My butterfly garden is in full bloom now and brings so much color and beauty to the back yard. It attracts more bees than butterflies, but that's OK ~ we certainly need the bees, too.

Our back yard may be small, but it's peaceful and mostly private, so it's our little slice of heaven. Brian and our oldest son planted these arborvitae trees about 17 years ago, when they were only three feet high. They're the perfect natural privacy fence.

Our cherry tomato plants really took off this year. They're over six feet tall! I've been picking lots of tomatoes every day. We've had caprese salad twice already, so now I'm going to cook down the tomatoes with onions and garlic and use it as a sauce over grilled chicken.

We are so pleased with how the coleus filled out on the north side of the house in-between the hostas and ferns, except...

some varieties grew much bigger than others. Here we thought we were doing so well back in the spring when we planted coleus, by leaving plenty of room for each plant. Little did we know that some spread and overtake other plants and some grow tall and don't spread much.

And then another variety barely grew at all! (The one to the right.) Now I know why some gardeners keep notebooks on what worked for them and what didn't. I'd never remember any of this next year. Guess next spring I'll be referring back to my blog!

We have a new cardinal family right outside our kitchen window. I watched Mama build her next in three days, then saw her sitting in her nest for what seemed like a couple of weeks, and now...babies! There's only two of them. It's fascinating to watch both Mama and Daddy Cardinal feed the babies multiple times a day. Daddy Cardinal tends to feed quickly and not stick around; Mama Cardinal takes longer with the feedings and then hangs around and fluffs in her nest and fusses over the babies. I talk to her out the window and tell her she's such a good mama. 🐦

I hope you are having a good summer and are healthy and staying safe.


  1. You have a beautiful yard. I remember summers from when we lived in Southern Illinois. It was so very green. Hope you enjoy your weekend. See you again soon.

  2. Your garden is beautiful, so lush and green. How sweet to have a cardinal family in residence.

  3. I love your home and your gardens. So pretty. :)

  4. Your garden is lovely. You are going to love the deck box!

  5. Wow Melanie, I'm just loving all these glimpses of your garden, everything is really looking awesome. I see Brian working hard there - hope he gets a break to celebrate his birthday this weekend - please wish him greetings from us - it will be a special one for him and I know you will make it memorable.

    The arborvitae are fabulous - look so healthy. We have one at the mailbox which is getting huge but I've no idea how to prune it other than chop little side bits off now and then when the mailbox starts to disappear!
    Love the ferns and coleus along the side bed, and butterflies and bees must love the echinacea, phlox etc. It all looks so lovely.

    Sweet Mama cardinal guarding her nest - and I guess Clementine won't be chasing her - what a great idea to have a 'cat tent' handy - never seen one of those before!
    Enjoy your weekend, even though weekends just seem like all the other days now!
    Hugs - Mary

  6. It's all so beautiful Melanie! And I'm with you, I wish summer would stick around until Thanksgiving and then show up again right after New Year's! ;)

  7. Your yard is so beautiful! I'm getting ideas from your photos. But, I have to keep in mind that our climate is so different. In fact, this morning Dan had to pull out another arborvitae tree because they just don't do well here. There's evidence of this all over town, as people keep trying and they are dead after the winter we had, and then there's just the lack of moisture in general. I guess the good news is that after we remove all three I'll have a new garden area to play with?

  8. Your arborvitae hedge has always been my favorite part of your garden! It's just so stately! The front of your house has lots of curb appeal. After being there 30 years it would be so hard to leave, even during mulberry season. I'm glad that you now have your patio and paths back to enjoy. The deck box is such a good idea! Does it really keep the moisture out? I end up rarely carrying our cushions out because afternoon showers pop up almost every day. You were so fortunate to have the cardinal family build their nest where you could observe it so closely!

  9. Your yard looks fabulous Your Arborvitaes are tall and so nice looking. Little Clementine in her outdoor play tent is so cute. Glad you can sit outside now before it gets too dang hot and enjoy your patio.

  10. Your backyard looks lovely and sometimes I think a smaller yard is so much prettier. You have it fixed up lovely.

  11. I wish I had that row of privacy trees. I haven't been able to get one good photo of the cardinals since last year.

  12. It's all lovely and your privacy hedge is wonderful!!!

  13. Your gardens and yard are so beautiful!! I love everything about them!! You've done such a wonderful job with the landscaping and arranging. // I saw about the loss of one of your sons. I know it's been a while, but you have my deepest sympathies and prayers. I understand this type of adult child loss as my oldest died at age 34 in 2013, leaving behind a wife and 3 kids. // I've added you to my blog list and also follow you. I'll be back to visit! Blessings to you!

  14. SO glad mulberry season is over and you can once again enjoy our patio. Your gardens look wonderful. Stay safe.

  15. You have a beautiful sanctuary in your backyard.


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