July Garden Updates: Surprises, Volunteers and Bicycle Planter


Happy Monday, I hope you had a good weekend! Ours was a hot one with a few early morning garden chores. July is a maintenance month in the garden. . . watering, weeding, deadheading and fertilizing.

 I’m dashing out the door to water and weed in the early morning hours before rushing back inside to escape the heat. Today is going to be a few degrees cooler with hopefully some rain headed our way. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain doesn’t miss us!

The sweet potato vine is threatening to take over the window boxes and the petunias and lobeila are starting to wane.

The limelight hydrangeas are starting to bloom! The large green blooms will turn gradually turn creamy-white over the next couple of weeks.

We planted a Chaste Tree (Vitex) last spring and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the blooms, along with the bees apparently!

Chaste Tree grows into multi or single-trunk shrub or small tree to about 10 to 20 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. It tolerates light shade but needs at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight for best flowering and is drought tolerant once established.

I deadheaded it last week to promote a second bloom this summer and keep the bees happy.

 I planted my vintage Schwinn bicycle along the border next to the Chaste Tree by the Potting Shed. You can see her planted with pumpkins here.

I added a rear basket to the bike last year, attached it with cable ties. . .

And placed coir liner in the baskets to plant Creeping Jenny, million bells, petunias and hot lobeila.

Purple Coneflower is blooming and a bee favorite. . .

And Passion Flower Vine is always buzzing with bees!

Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop, purple passion flower, wild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a vigorous grower and common wildflower in the southern United States and a source of nectar and food for butterflies and bees.

It volunteers by my Potting Shed although it rarely comes up in exactly the same place from year to year. The first couple of years it ‘volunteered’, it came up between the porch boards of my shed and I let it climb up along the shutters with some fishing line. You can see it here.

Passion flower vine is drought tolerant but the roots appreciate a loose mulch. The blooms last a day and if pollinated, produce egg-shaped fruits, called ‘maypops’.

Passion vine is also the host plant for the Gulf fritillary butterfly.

The caterpillars have rows of black spines that are soft and non-stinging, but protect them from predators along with their bright orange color~ a warning that they’re toxic if eaten.

I discovered a mystery plant and volunteer a few weeks ago by our back door.

It sprouted up from the Creeping Jenny next to the house behind the shrubs.

My husband wanted to pull it up, but I convinced him to let it grow to see what it was. It’s not in a very visible area except to us when we go in and out the back door by the porch.

It’s a gourd! I’m guessing a squirrel found some seeds in the compost pile last fall and planted it.

We went out-of-town for a long weekend at the end of June and returned home to find the gourd vine climbing its way up the juniper! My hubby is really itching to cut it down now ;).  Seeing the gourd vine climb it gives me the idea that I could plant some gourds next summer on a trellis since I don’t have the space for them to sprawl. . .and has my thoughts turning to fall, along with the 90+ degree temperatures!

I had another garden surprise and mystery a week ago. I walked out to find the butterfly bush completely bare and stripped of all the leaves and blooms.

Not only was the butterfly bush completely stripped, but it was cut down cleanly to half its height, looking like someone came at it with pruning shears. I have to give the butterfly bush ‘marauder’ points for tidiness. No debris was left behind. . . every leaf and branch just gone.

I gave it some fertilizer and it’s putting out new leaves, but no blooms for a good long while it recovers like those I used in this pitcher perfect garden bouquet . . . *sniff*

Butterfly bush is deer resistant and this was the only plant eaten. I’m guessing it was a squirrel or something using the branches for nesting material? The shrub has been there about 8 years and we’ve never encountered this before. Has anyone else ever had this happen or have an idea what marauder was responsible?

10/18 Update: It was a beaver!

Endless Summer Hydrangeas have transitioned from their spring blues to the softer, summer shades of green. . .

I deadheaded and harvested some hydrangea blooms to encourage new flowers and enjoy the blooms in an urn.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas usually put on a second flush of flowers if they are watered and will bloom until frost, which is typically mid-November for us.

To encourage new blooms, I gave the hydrangeas a second dose of fertilizer. I use Pennington UltraGreen Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Plant Food. I apply it in March on the azaleas and hydrangeas and then give them a second dose in July.

I also use the UltraGreen Azalea plant food on the gardenias too, which are acid-loving plants.

How’s your garden growing?

Do you have any garden surprises, mysteries or volunteers?

Thank you for your visit!

Sharing with:  Metamorphosis Monday
Gardens Galore @ Everyday Living

  56 comments for “July Garden Updates: Surprises, Volunteers and Bicycle Planter

  1. Linda
    July 16, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Hi Mary, always so lovely!! Wish I had a yard for everything but live in mobile for now ,with just a patch for flowers. I give them my coffee grounds they do very well !! I love the bees and butterflies!!

  2. Linda
    July 16, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Beautiful post! Interesting info about the gorgeous butterfly. I’m going to share this with my grandchildren today! Love your idea about planting gourds on a trellis. I recall seeing various varieties of gourds planted on a walk-through sort of arbor with gourds hanging overhead. Takes more space than a trellis, however. Lovely tour today. Thanks. Linda

  3. barbara
    July 16, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Sorry to hear about the butterfly bush, the good news it wasn’t the wires in your pontoon! As usual beautiful pictures.

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Hi Barbara, yes that was good news! 🚤⚓️ Thanks for your visit! 🌺

  4. July 16, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Gorgeous photos. I would have said deer for your butterfly bush, are you sure it wasn’t them? Deer resistant doesn’t mean deer proof, LOL! I’ve never seen a squirrel strip a plant completely like that. My hydrangeas are going gangbusters too.

  5. Granny 35 (France)
    July 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Quel plaisir de retrouver votre si joli jardin, si fleuri et qui semble si paisible, après ces deux jour de folie que nous avons vécu en France avec la fête nationale et la victoire de la coupe du monde de foot-ball.
    J’aime particulièrement les hortensias, fleurs emblématiques de ma Bretagne.
    Très bonne journée

  6. July 16, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Fabulous garden and enjoyed the info about the butterfly. Sorry to hear about the butterfly bush. Critters can be so bad. We had a squirrel chew wires in our outdoor Jeep… it had to be towed to get repaired.

  7. July 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Hi Mary, Love all the flower beauty and what a fun surprise your gourd vine was! My daughter has a bike planted in her garden. I bet she would love a rear basket to add to it.

  8. Kathy Menold
    July 16, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I too think you can blame deer for the eaten butterfly bush. It has been so hot and dry this summer that the deer are being forced to eat anything and everything.
    Also found a se!f planted mystery pumpkin like vine in my garden. We call it killed squash because it is climbing up anything it can find including a vitex,curly willow and manipulate hydrangea. Will see what kind of fruit it produces!

  9. July 16, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Mary, So much to take in today. I can reread and still see more to ponder. Love the planted bicycle.I am visiting my daughter so I will be back later to read carefully. Have a great day!

  10. Vicky
    July 16, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Next time you go into your garden in the early AM check the undersides of your coneflowers. From time to time I find bees sleeping, hanging upside down under the petals.
    One year I planted gourd seeds at the base of a mimosa tree. As the plants grew they climbed the tree and I encouraged the vines to grow out the limbs. It was a fascinating sight to see gourds hanging from a tree. Many times I’ve had ornamental gourds grow from my mulch pile or a place in the flowerbed where I tossed them after Thanksgiving the year before. I always let them grow til they will get no bigger – a much larger version of what I tossed out – then I harvest them for Fall decorating.

    • July 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Hi Vicky, I’ll check for sleeping bees tomorrow 🐝🌸 Thanks for the tip on planting gourds to climb a tree. I’ll be looking for the perfect specimen for next year! 🌳

  11. Shirley Graham
    July 16, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Thanks so much! Live in an apartment now & have pots planted on the deck. Love the pictures & especially the planted bicycle. Enjoy all your flowers – I do!

  12. July 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

    How wonderful! My coneflower has finally emerged and a favorite, too, and I love your hydrangeas. OK, fine! I love ALL of it — and I bow down with respect and awe for what you’ve done here!

  13. Cristy Bennett
    July 16, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Last year you posted about your Black-eye Susan Vine and Cherokee Clematis. I had not known about these plants before your post and wanted to add them to my garden this year. I am very happy to report how well and beautiful each of these are doing for me. I found two established Black-eye Susan Vines at my local garden center early this spring and planted each of them on their own tall obelisk trellis in large pots. I have the pots in areas of the yard to add vertical visual interest. The plants now cover the whole height of the trellis and trailing out of their pots over the ground! The Cherokee Clematis I ordered online and planted it to climb on a smaller obelisk trellis in a pot. I encircled the clematis trellis with four pink-green leaf caladium. The first Cherokee Clematis blossom appeared about a week ago. That first blossom has faded now but four new blossoms are showing. The whole ensemble is so lovely. I can see it from where I am sitting to write this note.

    Many of my hydrangeas are not blooming this year. We had a hard long winter here in Michigan which knocked out all the growth from last year. I had to cut them back to the ground. The stems have grown back and are heavy with their large leaves…but no flowers. Next year I will try the fertilizer you mention in today’s post and see if this helps to bring back the flower heads.

    Thank You for all of your wonderful gardening inspiration, techniques and advise. You have inspired me to add plants to my garden that are new and interesting…which I am enjoying very much! Thank You!

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Hi Cristy, Thank you for your comment and visits! I’m happy to hear your Black-eyed Susan vine and clematis are blooming! Some hydrangea varieties bloom only on old wood and others on new, so pruning at the wrong time can actually be cutting off any potential blooms. There’s an article here about when to prune based on your variety of hydrangea. Happy Gardening!

  14. Theresa Keller
    July 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post! Happy gardening :)

  15. Cheryl
    July 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

    What a glorious garden! Love your mystery gourd. I planted loofahs this year. Originally sprouted and planted 20 but only about 7 survived but they are finally beginning to do well. I’m hoping to have loofahs to give as gifts for Christmas. We’ll see how they do.

  16. July 16, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Hi Mary, the pictures are gorgeous and info helpful!! Living in the country with cornfield in the front and bean field in the back is like living in the middle of a desert..wind blows and dries out most things. Therefore, watering is a must everyday when there is no rain.,your boxes are beautiful..mine always get potbound and leggy..they always looks stressed by this time..the heat, in the north, this year has been relentless and caused everything to be stressed.l. Our corn is looking great!! Can’t wait for it to be ready for picking before the raccoons get it! Tomatoes are over the top! I’ll be a busy bee starting the first part of August!! And, this morning I picked 6 Zucchini and already have 3 left..I have made 6 loaves of Zucchini bread and frozen..they make nice gifts. The veggies and herbs are doing better than the florals this year. Sorry about your Butterfly Bush..something to look forward to again..I had a similar incident..was watering one morning and one of my clematis was cut. Looked like someone took a pair of clippers and cut it clean..after much discussion, we think it was a squirrel..it’s always something but that’s gardening and I won’t give it up!!

  17. July 16, 2018 at 9:44 am

    It’s always a pleasure to visit you and your garden, Mary. How fun to have the surprise gourd growing and now it’s planted an idea for you! I hope your butterfly bush reemerges and flourishes. Yes, I constantly have things eaten in my garden and baskets. I have three azaleas that need pulled out (they looked cut down, too) and I just planted a new plant in a basket on the fence, that is stripped of all it’s leaves by some critter. It seems I like to spend money on feeding squirrels! Happy gardening, Mary!

  18. S Williams
    July 16, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Good morning Mary-What lovely, calming pictures of your beautiful garden. Love the bicycle! Everything is just so pretty. The volunteer plants the birds and squirrels grace us with are always a bonus! You get to wonder what they are and then decide if you want to keep them! So sorry to hear about your butterfly bush. You may want to check with a garden center about the mystery predator (show them a picture of the results). I copied & pasted a short paragraph I found online here: Even though the butterfly bush has good resistance against pests and diseases, some predators such as wasps, spiders, birds, ants, aphids and flies can threaten it. Japanese beetles, spider mites and a species known as the checkerspot butterfly are also known to attack this plant. From experience I have seen army worms eat a beautiful yard quickly so it’s not impossible. The way it was “pruned” looks like a pest that likes the plant & attacked it vigorously. Since the deer have a water source (lake) and probably more tasty adequate food sources available in your garden that they like (hydrangeas, annuals, etc) I would suspect a much smaller pest that works enmass. Hope this helps as you are so kind to help us all with your extensive knowledge of plants along with your gorgeous photos and we always look forward to your posts. Have a great day! Clara 🌸 🌼 💐 🐝 🦋

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Clara, Thank you for your visit and comment! Another reader suggested that it might be a beaver, which is very likely since it’s planted right by the water.

      • S Williams
        July 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm

        Bet that’s it! They are more destructive than squirrels! Busy beavers=trouble! We had one destroy our levee many years ago. Wishing you luck on getting rid of them! You have beautiful landscaping so hopefully he won’t come back for another meal!

  19. Rita C.
    July 16, 2018 at 10:09 am

    This post is so full of good things, I just love it. I recognized the flower of your gourd right away, how fun to see what the birds & squirrels plant! You call those window boxes waning?! They look fabulous to me! I didn’t plant potato vine this year simply because they do seem to outpace all other plantings in a combo, and they take so much water (needy, daily).
    As for the butterfly bush… my guess is a beaver. We nurtured sassafras saplings for years then one Fall – boom! – gone completely, like a clean, straight cut. Lol, we even called the police, as it was right after trick or treat and thought it vandalism. Turns out, by the following spring, there was a dam discovered about 3 miles down river. Another neighbor’s peach tree was chopped down like the classic pencil cut, and mostly hauled off too.
    I need to check out passion vine. This year I planted hyacinth bean vine in lieu of my mandevilla that squirrels ate last year. The new vine is growing great, but no flowers yet. I want flowers! I also need to check out that hydrangea fertilizer….I want more blooms! Great gardens, Mary, and I like your new chaste tree plant. Thanks for sharing your dirt!

    • July 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      A beaver! I knew it wasn’t a deer as there wasn’t anything else eaten and they would have had to walk down the driveway passing the garden buffet by the Potting Shed to to get to the butterfly bush that’s not nearly as tasty. It’s also right by the water. We have tons of resident muskrats but I hadn’t considered a beaver. I just googled ‘beavers Lake Norman’ and saw an article about damaged trees from beavers on Lake Norman. Thank you, you’re so smart Rita! ;)

      • Rita C.
        July 16, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        Yeah, ya tend to get smart when ya make a fool of yourself with reporting it as theft first. How embarrassing.

      • July 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        Lol 😂🌺🐝

  20. July 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Beautiful garden Mary

  21. July 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Mary, Everything is gorgeous. We have the passion flower at our condo and it kind of takes over everything. I think we’ve gotten rid of most except one or two vines.

  22. July 16, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Consider setting up a trail camera to catch your butterfly bush bandit. We discovered a big doe making midnight visits to our young Honey Crisp apple trees. She is very well fed ;we live in a normal neighborhood with some woods behind us.

  23. Mary Driver-Downs
    July 16, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Love that you shared about the maypop/purple passion(Passiflora Incarnata) vine… you inspire me!

  24. July 16, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Mary, a visit to your garden is always beautiful and informative. Every time I have planted sweet potato vine with other flowers, it overtakes them. I do love it’s pretty foliage. The bicycle in bloom is so pretty, I should do that with my 3-wheel Schwinn. I am glad that your chaste has performed well, every year there seems to be hundreds of bees on the blooms. When I cut some to use for arrangements, they seem unbothered. Your limelights are beautiful, they remain a favorite of mine. That is unbelievable about your butterfly bush. I am always apprehensive to look out over my garden each morning, our resident deer population could wipe it out n one night. I have had volunteer gourds and pumpkins every year. It is fun to see what happens. Thank you Mary for sharing with Gardens Galore,

  25. Terri
    July 16, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Good Morning
    I also have a bike in my backyard with front and rear basket.
    It has been needing some flower power, but also here in Maryland, it is hot and humid, so I don’t want to go out.
    But I truly enjoy flowering it up, it takes me on a flower tour, without peddling!

  26. Betsy
    July 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Good morning,

    I have to share with you that your many posts saved the day! We have officially decided to move to Lake Norman and yesterday my husband said he would be sad to give up our amazing landscaping which has been 20 years in the making.

    When we made our East coast neighborhood hunting trip last year it was a very cold week in November. No humidity to endure at the time but also no pretty yards to be seen anywhere around the lake; nothing was in bloom and the lawns were dormant.

    Yesterday, my green-thumbed husband was wondering how we would customize our new yard, sadly remembering the dormant yards we saw. I quickly opened a new tab on the computer and to the rescue came your many garden posts with pictures of a huge variety of healthy, beautiful blooming plants.

    It’s one thing to pull up pictures in Southern Living but much more impressive to show photos from a house directly on the lake you’re moving to.Thank you, Mary!

    We’re looking forward to creating a new yard and I’m looking forward to sharing the blooms with new friends. And boating. Definitely looking forward to more boating.


    • July 16, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Betsy, Thank you for your sweet comment and visits! I hope you have smooth sailing with your move to Lake Norman and your hubby has many happy hours planning a new landscape and gardening!

  27. Cyndi Raines
    July 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    All your hard work is paying off and has blessed us all with a lovely garden tour! Thank you! My hydrangeas are big, green and leafy, but alas no flowers. So disappointing and I fertilized too! But my Hollyhocks came back and are so tall and pretty and my Coneflowers and Cosmos as doing well along with the Balloon flowers and Shasta Daisies, so I’m happy. The potted plants are needing extra watering with our unusual high temps, but they are still looking good. Hard to believe we are half way through July. Your bike is lovely and the gourd was a fun surprise. I was surprised with a poppy plant! There are some down the road so maybe some birds planted it for me? Hope your Butterfly Bush comes back strong and beautiful! Garden on, Miss Mary, garden on! 🌸🌻🌼🦋🐝

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Thank you Cyndi❣️I love Cosmos and need to remember to plant some next year. My MIL always had some that reseeded every year and they were so pretty in her garden.🌸🌺🐝🦋🌼

  28. Joanna @ Gingham Gardens
    July 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Everything is so lovely! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think the old bicycle wins this time – so much character! Happy gardening!

  29. July 16, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Beautiful shots Mary! I’m not sure how you get such beautiful hydrangeas south of here (New Jersey) but they’re amazing. I’ve been battling with mine for years, moving them from sun to shade and everywhere in between!:).
    I’ve decided, that with these 100 degree temps, I’m only going with southern flowers from now on. Hibiscus, Mandeville, etc….they seem to be the only plants that stand the heat.
    Again, wonderful shots and I love the chair! As always, thanks for the inspiration!

  30. July 16, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Such a fun post Mary, you and Pam have me absolutely green with garden envy! That is crazy about your missing bush, scary!! I know you love your bees, but I must tell you, I got stung by some type of bee a few weeks ago and I was miserable for days! Your potted bicycle makes my heart sing! Such hard work, but such beautiful rewards! I laughed about your gourd, just think, you can use it to start your fall decorating!!

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Hi Jenna, I have gotten stung so many times (never by bees) since we built my Potting Shed. Usually it’s by wasps that are not aggressive unless you disturb them, like moving their nest in a pot or watering can. Yellow Jackets are another story, they are just plain evil!

  31. July 16, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    So fun to see a working garden, i was up to the exact same tricks as you, watering at 5:30 am before it hits 103, dead heading hydrangeas and vitex, fertilizing all before I collapse indoors by 1 pm to get up and do it all again tomorrow! I will say deer eat buddleia, no ifs and or buts here, it’s a given, chomping and bomping them flat to the ground when small or shredding giant bushes to head height, I went to a nursery this spring that sold them all for two bucks before the deer would come and eat her stock by summer when hunger ramps up in this hot dry state. I know you said you have never seen deer before, and your garden proves it with all your lush color, but perhaps you had a happy wanderer. Pray it was a one off because it’s not pretty when they sweep through daily! I was photographing dragonflies today, I swear they are almost like pet parrots following me everywhere with their deep burnt Siena coloring. Ah, the joys of a garden, delightful when you share so much of your!

  32. Susan Parker
    July 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Good evening Mary,
    just opened up my computer to drool over your incredible garden paradise, those window boxes with the coleus and sweet potato vine and flowers absolutely lovely and the rest of your property and shed oil painting worthy! How happy all the birds and bees are to be nurtured by you! Thank you for all your recipe sharings and glorious table settings! I share your posts with some of my older friends w/o a computer and their joy is EPIC !



  33. Virginia
    July 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Such a beautiful post today, just love the bike with greenery and flowers spilling from the baskets. I spent the day spreading Holly Tone around my acid loving plants. I have used Holly Tone for years since it was recommended by my Mother who is “Mrs. Green Thumb” but will certainly look for Pennington next time I am in the garden shop. Sorry about your butterfly bush. 😰 We too have been vandalized by four legged critters this year. Earlier it was the muskrats stealing my day lilies but a very heavy rain flooded their lodge so it seems as if they moved elsewhere. Recently something has been taking a few bites out of our tomatoes. At first I thought it was birds but have now seen evidence of teeth marks. Out with the have a ❤️ traps again. Prior to becoming a townie 13 years ago we lived on 23 acres in the country with a beautiful creek. Beavers moved in cut down lots of trees, built an enormous dam and created a beautiful pond for us, Then they moved on down the creek cut down someone else’s trees and they also ended up with a nice little pond. My limelight and Pee Gee hydrangeas are just beautiful now and I have enjoyed cutting them using your alum method to enjoy in the house. Sorry for the length of my comments today but I have one more thing to tell you. After reading your post highlighting the native red hibiscus I raved about it. Saturday was my birthday and to my surprise one of my gifts was a Midnight Marvel Hardy Hibiscus. I am one thrilled woman. 😊 I must give you the credit, Thank you Mary!

  34. July 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Looks like your July garden is progressing just beautifully. So nice to see the hydrangea in bloom. My limelights are dwarf so don’t get very big. Love that passion flower, so pretty and yet so unusual.

  35. Catherine LUXEREAU
    July 17, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Bonjour Mary,

    Votre jardin est merveilleux ..il est aussi une véritable source d’inspiration…!!! C’est magique…Merci pour les belles photos…car là aussi c’est beaucoup de travail.

  36. Deena Salvatore
    July 17, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Hi Mary! The pictures are gorgeous. Heartbreaking about the butterfly bush. I would sear it was eaten by deer. I planted two gorgeous thriving lilac bushes in one of my gardens and they ate them down to the ground. It took 2 years for them to flower again. I have to spray constantly since our property to too big to fence in and I refuse to live without flowers! Good luck! I have a question for you. I bought a vintage bike 3 years ago and planted beautiful flowers and vines in it as you do, for my daughter-in-laws’ bridal shower. I had hoped she would take to their home and use it as I did, but she said she would never know how to do it. I’ve always been afraid to leave it outside for fear of it rusting. This year I decided to bring it back outside and I’m hoping for the best. Can you tell me if you did anything to preserve it, like clear coating the fenders and frame? Or did you just decide to let nature take it course? I would much appreciate any advice. Thank you! Deena

    • July 17, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Hi Deena! I didn’t spray or clear coat my bike as it already had some rust and I don’t object to it. You could certainly give yours a couple of coats of matte or gloss sealer, Rust-Oleum, or Krylon, whatever you can pick up at the hardware store, coating it annually to preserve the finish.

  37. July 17, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I love your garden posts, pictures sublime…! We once had a squash 30 feet up a tree. It was large almost 6 pounds and we finally stretched a net out to catch it.

  38. July 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Hi Mary!
    I love how charming your cement urn looks filled with the varied hues and textures of your hydrangeas!
    I know you’re already on the look-out for beavers, but we also live on a lake and the rodent we fear are nutria.
    They related to the beaver with the main difference between the two spieces being that the Nutria is slightly smaller and the nutria’s tail is thin and round like a rat’s, with very little hair.
    They are very destructive and felled 2 of our neighbor’s Elm trees in one night!
    We didn’t even know they were in our area until they “cut” down and removed all evidence of 2 of our Eastern Redbud, our Beautyberry Bush, and 4 Cherry Laurels. ):
    Often, at twilight, once they’ve “discovered” your area is a varitable smorgabord, you can see them swimming close to the retaining walls, with their tail trailing behind them.
    Now, we keep decorative low fencing around all our trees and bushes that are close to the shoreline.
    Hope this helps! 🌻 Trenda

  39. July 17, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Lovin’ the volunteer gourd Mary! Could that be something ~nice~ the squirrels did in the garden??? I hope you get a few to play with this fall:@)

  40. Sue
    July 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    I’m thinking squirrels. I have two pear trees at the back of my property along with a redbud tree and last summer the one pear tree had branches on the ground that looked as if someone had deliberately cut them off and left them around the bottom of the tree. Why would someone climb the tree, cut branches and then leave them on the ground? Then I noticed a big nest toward the top of the tree and realized it was a nest for squirrels which are plentiful around my property. They do make nice clean cuts on the branches; if only I had wanted their help.

  41. Paula
    July 22, 2018 at 11:51 am

    For ending the month of July your flowers are still looking beautiful ! it has been so dry here in northern IN, but finally thank our Lord rain rain !! YAY , my cone flowers were dancing with joy !! The story of the mystery vine was cute ! the field next to us something so very pretty was growing and I thought I should go dig it up , but before I could someone came and mowed bummer! Of course that field has not been mowed in years , so what the heck were the odds of that ?! When I was at HobbyLobby the other day they are putting out FALL, and I thought of you eager for the season! Boy its tempting not to buy buy , hehe.
    Have a joyful week ,xo

  42. Robyn
    July 25, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for such a beautiful post. I love your hydrangeas. Mine are struggling and I think I may have to move them this fall. I have the same volunteer in a pile of cuttings behind my shed. I need to check to see if anything has popped out of the blooms! I was thinking it was just yellow squash. Can’t wait to see. We are getting some much needed rain this week in central NC. It has been a nice break from watering and my blooms and veggies are loving it! Have a great week!

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