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This last Monday at 5:30 pm, my sunroom and the side porch on the west side registered 102 degrees. We've had a lot of hot days and fairly warm nights this summer - 90's in the afternoon and 60's in the mornings. I have been running around every day with watering cans to keep all the plants watered and happy. Then Wednesday the monsoonal moisture started showing up with afternoon and evening thunderstorms. We have rain forecast again for the weekend. Wednesday's humidity was a whopping 40%! (I know, you east-coasters and mid-westerners, don't laugh! Humidity usually doesn't even register on our indoor/outdoor sensor). The sunflowers love it. Heck, we all love it!

Sunflower in July, 2014
But I digress. The tomatoes and squash are doing really well this year, as are the peppers. You recall that I had limited success in years past when it comes to squash.  Last year I was able to harvest some summer squash for the first time in several seasons. This year, I decided to use new soil from the indoor gardening store, start the squash indoors early, and then keep them watered. I think it worked, or else I got lucky.  I put the squash and pumpkins in pots, as well as most of the tomatoes and peppers, so I could move them around as I needed to.  Because it seemed like a good place to start out, I put the squash and kabocha pumpkin pots next to the doghouse, and the squash just kept growing and growing. I swear, it's growing a foot a day! Really, it's eating the doghouse.
The squash that's eating the doghouse bite by bite.  

I hope I end up getting some squash and pumpkins out of these monsters! Does anyone know a good way to make sure that happens? I know it's a matter of nitrogen to phosphorus to something or another.
Anyway..... let's go beyond the orange tiger lily thingy, there's more monster plants to inspire or terrify you.....  

Upper Garden looking west
I really love the garden in the back of the yard, what I call the upper garden.  I've spent a lot of time in this garden, trying many plants. Over the years, it's grown into something all jumbled up and wonderful that seems now to be beyond my control. These yellow rudbeckia and shasta daisies are chest high to me, so about 4 to 4 1/2 feet high.  
Upper Garden, July 2014
Amazing how when you work at something enough, over the years it changes completely.

I never have a vision or a Plan, which I guess you are supposed to have for a garden. I just plant what I think I will like.  I was taking some pictures last week of the upper garden because I am so happy with the way it looks right now. I got to thinking, how this garden area has changed in 10 years. I started looking through pictures, and I found the first one I took, in the spring of 2005. I had already cut the horrible gigantic evergreen bushes down, and I wish I had taken a picture of the monsters. They must have been planted back in the 50's or 60's, when the juniper bush was in vogue. Yuck! I hate those things.

upper garden April 2005
The ensuing years brought changes such as a new shed in the corner of the yard behind the huge cottonwoods, which had been topped prior to our purchasing the house. I planted bulbs, moved bushes and trimmed the trees. The gigantic, monster trees ended up being sun-sucking beasts under which hardly anything would thrive, and two years ago they were finally removed. As we suspected, the larger one was completely hollow! I filled the giant hollow stump with dirt and planted a deer-resistant flower mix in it this year. I can't find the seed packet to read off what types of flowers are blooming, but for sure I have Cleome, poppies, black-eyed susans and I think, 4-o'clocks (I'll know when they bloom). I'm sure it will reseed. Anyway, it's looking pretty nice considering what it was when I first saw it!

Garden in back, July 2014

That's what is going on in my garden. What's going on in yours?

By the way, I promised I'd post a photo of my Sessions clock, newly returned from the clock repair shop. My mother passed it down to me - it was a wedding present and she had received two of the same kind.  She still has a more ornate clock which will be mine someday. I love having my clock! Probably not worth a lot but it has a very nice tone when striking.

Sessions clock

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