essence of summer: gwg #8

I’ve been waiting to post this because I haven’t uploaded my newest images yet (besides the lily) but then I realized I’d better just get it out there. Maybe I’ll post some more photos for the next one. I have a bunch I’d like to share.


Now that we’ve passed the solstice and its finally starting to feel like summer I’m beginning to think more about the veggies I’ll be able to pick soon enough. I thought I’d have a larger spring harvest but the lettuce was micro (for the most part) and I was only able to gather a single radish out of the many I tried. I’m hoping it will finally start to heat up a bit so my favorite summer veggie to grow – the tomato – can get up and go. I love that they enjoy being pet and that particular smell they produce when you brush by. I participated in a seed exchange last spring and was able to pick up a ton of varietals but didn’t have much luck last year (see previous post). Now they’re finally growing and I can’t wait to see what comes from them. I’ve got red, pink, yellow, gold, orange, green, purple, and black; indeterminate, determinate, and bushing; cherry, grape, pear, beefsteak, and some juicy looking heirlooms. I even have three mystery tomatoes that I have no idea what they’ll turn out to be. If I get at least one tomato from each I’ll be happy because I want to try them all and see what I like best for future plantings.

If I were to pick a favorite summer herb to grow it would be basil, which goes hand in hand with fresh off the vine toms. Now that the basil’s bursting we can finally take a few months off from our reliance on the expensive store bought stuff. One year I had a great variety – Genovese (the standard), Thai (so good!), Cinnamon and Purple Ruffles (great color), and more – but so far this year I’ve only grown a few and still need at least a little purple. I’ve been growing some Sweet Basil from seed and picked up a healthy starter pot of Genovese to keep me in green until the seed can get rolling. The most recent addition is a tight Greek Columnar that looks sort of similar to the thai with small, smooth pointed leaves (but without the pretty purple stems and flowers).

On the Fourth of July I was finally greeted by my first Lily and the sudden sweeping blooms of the lavender. A few days prior I started finding ripe strawberries (but so did the squirrels and slugs) and my first borage flower. The roses are exploding and I’m finally starting to get enough squash blossoms each day to try them stuffed and fried. Soon enough summer will really get going again.

Aside from edibles I think my summer is really marked by the point when I can leave the succulents outside over night. Almost every pot of succulents I have were from the table centerpieces I chose for our wedding (this was a must for the big day). Because of this they do not have drainage holes and I don’t want to add them because I can’t find metal drip trays to match. While they’re in the house it’s easy to control watering but with all the rain lately I needed to be a little more doting. The best reason to bring them outside is because they get a nice, even amount of light and they grow much healthier and bushier. Over the winter I need to keep them in all my south facing windows and rotate them for even growth. They still get a bit leggy so a solid summer will encourage some much needed new, stocky growth. Hopefully by next week they’ll be pretty worry free. They line our balcony railing and make an attractive hedge that help block out the neighbors sitting on their front stoop across from us. I love looking out at them from inside the house, when I read on the balcony, or looking up at them from the sidewalk when I come home. Their presence out there, day and night, are a sure sign to myself and passers by that summer is here.



  1. I hope your garden has gotten itself sorted out after that fitful start! I do love basil myself, and I love adding it fresh to dishes when people don’t expect it- it’s such a burst of fresh taste they’re always surprised. Good luck!

    1. It’s coming along. I wish my tomatoes could have gotten a better head start but the weather would not cooperate. We did some major tree trimming to ensure the raised bed had direct sun all day long and its in the 80s every day now.

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