01 July 2013

Vivement l'été !

Summertime, bring it on. Welcome to July. The month has dawned sunny and ... almost ... warm. Warm is such a relative term. Our temperature today is supposed to hit 75ºF — not quite 25ºC. But we'll take it. June was chilly and gray except for the first week. We were due for a change.

This is one of several jade plants I have in pots. In San Francisco, I could leave the jades outdoors year-round, but not here.
They'd freeze in our Loire Valley climate.

Walt planted some marigolds outdoors, but something — we suspect snails or slugs — immediately ate all their leaves.
They're completely gone, except a few that we have in pots on the terrace.

Nearly all the potted plants are now outside. I've gradually been moving the ones like jade and kalanchoe that don't like chilly and damp conditions off the glassed-in front porch and out into the fresh air and, hopefully, sun. They seem happy enough. I still have several cuttings in water, waiting for roots to form. I can't believe it's July and we're where we might expect to be in early May for all these gardening activities.

Millepertuis (St. John's wort) is trying to take over the whole south side of the house along the road.
I don't know how to get it under control.

The big bank of millepertuis — Hypericum, a.k.a. "St. John's wort" — along the ditch and up against the south wall of the house is having its best year in a long time. I guess it has enjoyed the wet conditions. The flowers are pretty, but the plant is invasive and hard to contain. If anybody has any good ideas about how to keep St. John's wort under control without ripping all out, I'd be happy to hear them.

 Clothes on the line — I hope to be able to dry laundry outside until October.

It's nice to be able to hang clothes out on the line to dry. This time of year, the north side of the house where the clothesline is located gets morning sun and afternoon sun. Most people here don't have or use clothes driers; they prefer to hang laundry outside in the fresh air. I know I do. I guess in many places in the U.S. that's against local ordinances. Not here.

A red squirrel visited the back yard a few days ago. We don't see many of them, and we don't have gray squirrels here at all.

Blackberries and cherries are doing well this year.

Walt transplanted some kale and collard greens that I had carefully planted in one of our garden plots a month ago. My careful planting style was just to throw the seeds on the ground and hope for the best. Oh, I did scatter some compost over the seeds to give them a fighting chance. They've come up and now they need to be moved, and that's mainly because as many weeds as greens have grown up in that spot. The easiest way to get rid of the weeds is to move the little kale and collard plants to a different plot.


  1. Is that the so-called Jade of the Desert? Too bad the Millepertuis is so invasive, the flower is absolutely gorgeous, as are your photos.

    Nice to see a red squirrel. It seems to be much smaller than gray squirrels. In Arlington, Virginia, there are more and more black squirrels. Evolution?

  2. The red squirrel is a cutie....love it.
    Glad the weather is finally beginning to warm up to summer.

  3. Cute squirrel. I wonder why its tail has that bald patch.

  4. Susan, I think that bald-looking spot was just an effect of the light. I was very far away from the squirrel and the sun was, surprisingly enough, shining brightly that day.

    Virginia, the red squirrels are pretty and shy. They aren't pests like the North American gray squirrels. CHM, maybe they are smaller than the gray (or black) squirrels. I remember black ones in Sunnyvale; in Illinois, I remember seeing white ones (albinos?).

  5. The weather here in Michigan has been similar to what you have been experiencing over there Ken. Perhaps not quite as chilly and a little less rainy, but certainly far different from the past several years where we went from winter straight into brutal summer. Not to rain on your parade (so to speak) but I like this years weather better. By the way your posts are looking very nice, keep up the good work.


  6. Hurrah for hanging the washing out! I don't believe clothes driers can get that fresh smell of clean laundry.

  7. Ken

    Do you have beetles, especially the Japanese ones? Read that they are attracted to marigolds.

  8. CHM, the jade plant in the photo is a Crassula ovata, not the 'desert jade' named Portulacaria. That plant is doing well also.

  9. I very much dislike drying clothes on a line. They always come out stiff and scratchy. Give me the softness of dryer clothes any day!!


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