Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of July Firecrackers!

I still can't quite believe it yet, but here we are already at the Fourth of July! Whatever kind of celebration you make of the day, we hope you make the most of it ... I'm hopeful that by this time next year, we'll be celebrating even more as we begin to take back the transgressions that so painfully remind us of what this country has become over the past eight years. President Barack Obama. The prospect itself seemed to me so far away to me the last six months, until the Caucuses back in early January (disclosure: I was in the Edwards camp), when I witnessed personally the mindsets of the various candidates. I think Obama can win. WE just have to make it happen. End of political rant, and on to the flowers!

I'm sure this Bee Balm is very familiar to long term visitors here, but for you who haven't seen it before, this is Monarda didyma, commonly known as Bee Balm. We have very nostalgic feelings for this particular plant because it was one of the very first things we put in the old garden back in the spring of 1999. We bought a couple of gallon pots of it at Target, some $1.00 coneflower plants, and some annuals and planted the (then) small "bed" in front of the porch. But the Bee Balm was what we really wanted in abundance! If you've never grown it, you're missing a prime opportunity to provide a hummingbird, butterfly and bee magnet in your sunny garden.Bee Balm isn't particularly fussy about where it grows, as long as it has full sun for at least the first or later part of the day (we have it thriving both in the front and the back, as I'll update tomorrow). It prefers a nice, loamy, well drained sunny position, though like most members of the mint family, it will usually settle for what it can get. But if you give them prime real estate, members like Monarda, can really step and perform in the early to mid-summer months. We thin this particular 'colony' frequently and give it to others who want it in their gardens. That's something mints (even your garden variety Coleus share) ... the more you cut them back, the more they branch or spread out, depending on what kind of mint you have. Spearmint can run rampant, as we know (and we were the guilty ones there!), but it generally stays mostly on the ground, whereas Monarda prefers to go upright. Much to many a gardener's delight. Monarda seems to have become quite the popular plant in gardens we see around this area, and it's no wonder why. It asks relatively little, yet rewards one with so much, just at the cusp for what most of us consider the beginning of 'real' summer ... when the reds, and deeper fire colors bloom ... and Bee Balm is just the beginning. I did notice today that some of the Purple Coneflowers are open and starting to bloom.

In some ways it's a timely occurrence for early July, but this year it has been a very capricious (to be kind) season. At this point, we're just rolling with the dice we got this year ... I think it's still shaping up to be a good year for both flowers and veggies ... the corn is not exactly 'Knee High,' but it's over 2 ft now!

In memory though, the Fourth of July should be much hotter ... leading to such activities as making ice cream, eating watermelon, and general grillissimo is charge of the grill. We're opting for marinated pork loin roast on the grill, with fresh sweet corn and more. Then there are the fireworks .. I'll try out that setting on the S700! If anything good comes out of that, you'll see it here.


boran2 said...

Firecrackers is right! Happy 4th IVG!

olivia said...

Happy day to you and Fernymoss and the pups, IVG!

Those flowers are absolutely perfect for the post!!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hoi, B2!
I've been planning on this one for a while, was just waiting for the full show, which is coming later...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Olivia, glad you liked! Do they still remind you of fancy hats?

We did have a pretty nice day, hung out outside a lot, did a bunch of weeding out front (I pulled probably 6 or 7 Sea Hollies! Horrors, but they've really become thugs this year!) Grilled for dinner, then got together with the folks on our corner and had the unofficial block fireworks display! It was nice tonight, not too many people not from the block so not too big. Just the way it started out years ago... fun I had, fireworks were shot (in more ways than one, see new post above).