At a standstill

We are waiting, waiting, waiting for the contractors to replace the siding, guttering, and repaint the deck damaged in the May 19 hailstorm, so gardening is kind of on hold for now. But we're enjoying the few things we did plant, especially the caladiums beneath the deck stairs. 

Bye-bye pokeweed

Well, we said we'd chop down/pull out the pokeweed before the birds started eating the berries. The berries aren't even ripe yet, but Ken saw this little feathered fellow, right, perched here and eyeing those berries longingly, so I guess that's the death knell for the pokeweed. We've really enjoyed its bright green leaves, red stalks, and white flowers, but it has grown quite large, and we really don't want to be overrun by pokeweed next year. Thankfully the caladiums are putting on a show in the shadow of the pokeweed, so we'll transfer our admiration to the green and red-veined leaves. 

And just look at the forecast for August 12-17! Unbelievable for August in Kansas!

Venturing north

We ventured into the Smoky Hills of Ellsworth County for our anniversary the weekend of August 11. What a beautiful part of the country! This is where my husband grew up, and where we lived for eight years when our children were small. Recent rains have the ponds brimming and the roadside ditches full of wildflowers and native prairie grasses. And the hillsides are green green green. The clouds were so beautiful the day we made this drive. It really was breathtaking!

Results of the rain

 All the rain we've been getting means the flower pots are overflowing. So much that I've been pruning and plucking and trying to keep them contained. We purposely didn't plant too many pots this year since we knew we'd be replacing the siding and gutters, painting the deck, etc. and it's a good thing, because if we had many more pots, it would be a full-time job keeping up with the results of all this rain! (We're NOT complaining!)
 The caladiums under the deck are growing and multiplying and add such a pretty spot of color that we see from both inside the house and when we sit under the deck. This is definitely a plant I'll want next year.

Indoor gardens

We've had wonderful cooler temps this summer, but mid-day when it's too hot to be outside, I'm thankful for the colorful plants and flowers I have inside. I've collected an assortment of miniature plants to line the ledge of the garden tub in the master bath. They thrive in the diffused light from the glass block window and steam from the bath and shower.

The beautiful yellow-bloom kalanchoe moved from the bath to a caned rush barstool in the corner of the living room. 

It's a jungle out there!

We had inches and inches of rain in July and already this is what our early August forecast looks like! Everything is growing like CRAZY! And unfortunately, almost everything needs to be moved to a new spot. We're in a holding pattern right now, still waiting for repairs from the hailstorm we had in May. We have a sturdy new roof, but there's still a window to replace, new siding and guttering to be put on, and the deck to be power washed and painted.

Come fall, we have our work cut out for us! Almost everything in the flowerbed in the front has to be thinned out and moved. We've already moved some of the barberry bushes to a spot in front of my office window. The beautiful Japanese Magnolia is too tall and covers up everything else in the flowerbed, so it will get moved to a new spot, too.

And this volunteer redbud tree will be moved to a spot in the backyard. We tried to move a smaller one in the heat of July and it didn't make it. (We had no choice about moving it since it was in the way of some repairs.) We'll be patient and wait until fall to transplant this to the back yard. It's a beautiful little tree and growing VERY fast!

If we thought the front flowerbed was crowded, the back is jam-packed! All wonderful plants that we'd like to keep but they simply can't all stay here! We have a Rose of Sharon that is bursting with blooms. . .

. . .three hibiscus plants––two red and one white, that give us dinner-plate size blooms. . .
 . . . plus, the Weigela is blooming again, there are lilies and fleabane and a thistle that's too pretty to cut down yet, a huge hydrangea, and several still unidentified plants all growing together in a messy jungle!

Meanwhile, in the shade garden under the deck the roses keep blooming and filling my vases, the caladiums are lush and beautiful, and the sweet potato vine is trying to take over the world! The checkerboard patio needs to be mowed, but it's starting to look like it's been here forever. We're excited for fall when we can thin things out and start to see the flowerbeds take shape for next spring.