God’s other book: Summer flowers

For several summer seasons, one of my favorite meditation activities has been walking through my backyard and gazing upon God’s handiwork.

This year we had extensive landscaping work done in the spring. I planted lots of native perennials, as well as an abundance of annuals. I’ve found gardening to be therapeutic, and the yard is looking beautiful! 

So, as the summer draws to a close, I thought I’d share some photos.

What I love about astilbe is its outrageous showiness. Those plumes! I like to think of them as God showing off…

I’ve been slowly but surely adding native plants to my beds. Not only do they attract pollinators, but once they get established, they require next to no watering or other care, since they’re suited to our local climate. Among my favorites are purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans.

Besides being wonderfully showy, the bee balm that grows along the south side of our house attracts hummingbirds. I just love those tiny creatures! I still haven’t gotten my camera to focus fast enough to catch one flitting from blossom to blossom, but I’m working on it.

Our resident rabbits love the white clover that covers our lawn. And they don’t have to worry about ingesting chemicals along with the yummy clover flowers. Our lawn has been chemical-free for as long as we’ve lived here.

Some welcome visitors have been gorging on our milkweed. I planted lots of it this year, so there’s enough to feed some very hungry caterpillars, along with the bees and butterflies. Since both the monarch and bee populations are dwindling, I’ve encouraged everyone I know to let this “weed” grow in their yards.

While not considered native flowers, my day lilies are so easy to grow and come in so many pretty colors that I now have lots and LOTS of them scattered around both my back and front yards. The good news is, they aren’t invasive, so it’s safe for me to plant them anywhere.

I like to scatter a few annuals throughout my flower beds, so that something is always blooming from mid-spring until frost. Petunias, begonias and lantana are among my favorites.

I have always gotten a kick out of the way I can make my hydrangeas change color just by pouring some leftover coffee around the base of the bush. These blooms started out blue, but some have turned pink after I started the coffee treatment.

What is even prettier (and tastier!) than these blossoms? The vine-ripened tomatoes I’ve just now begun to harvest! And the cayenne pepper will be yummy cooked with a pot of greens.

We also planted a Rose of Sharon tree in memory of our beautiful Olaf da Vinci.

We wanted something with blossoms as flamboyant as our sweet kitty’s personality, and I think we found the perfect little tree to honor him. From mid-summer until frost the Rose of Sharon puts forth an abundance of showy white blossoms with red centers.