More Rain Today Than in the Month of June

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I was very happy to be blasted out of bed shortly after 5 a.m. by very loud thunder. When I looked out the window, the rain garden had plenty of puddling in it, so it was doing its job keeping at least some of the rain from running off down the sidewalk and into the overtaxed storm drains.

By 8 a.m., the silver maple had stopped dripping enough that I could walk around and enjoy my second cup of coffee. The hydrangeas looked terrific. Looking more closely, I realized that a month with many more promises of rain than actual rain had taken its toll. The flowers heads are smaller than usual, and the individual flowers are quite a bit smaller, but the green of the leaves was already shifting from that piny, water-stressed blue green to a much brighter and greener green.

Annabelle hydrangea, closeup. The individual flowers are just over half of their usual diameter, due to a very dry June. Usually the petals hide the stems behind them completely. Photographed July 7, 2017.

Annabelle does not attract bees, but oakleaf hydrangea does, and by midday, it was abuzz. What we see as the flowers—the showy four-petalled wonders—are of no interest to honeybees, but all that wild fluff beneath is—and there were more honeybees than I have seen at one time for years. Very heartening. However, you can see there was also an unwelcome guest, a Japanese beetle.

Oakleaf hydrangea with honeybees and a Japanese beetle. The spots of pink on the petals tell you that these flowers are aging. Photographed July 7, 2017.

This is one of the things I love about having flower beds. The bees are up where we can keep eyes on each other, and they are happy because they are busy. Happy bees don’t sting.

I’ve never seen honeybees on my echinacea before, but they were there today.

Honeybee at work on Echinacea purpurea. I do not recall the varietal name. If you look carefully at the bee’s left hind leg, you can see the pollen basket. Photographed July 7, 2017.

The bumblebees were also out, but they were focussing on roses today.

Morden Blush spray, with a bumblebee coming in for a landing on the upper righthand flower.

The morning rain was a relief  to everyone, but the cold front still hadn’t come through—it was a relatively steamy afternoon. Fortunately, we had more rain by dinner. It was raining heavily enough that I took these photos through the front parlor window.

The rain garden had extensive puddling again.

The north end of the rain garden, through the front window. The leaves in front of the camera belong to nannyberry, Viburnum lentago. You can make out some honey locust roots behind them, and a fringe of blue-eyed grass in the upper righthand corner. The low plants in front of the locust roots are Penstemon digitalis. Photographed July 7, 2017.
The middle of the rain garden. From left to right are: Echinacea purpurea, Rosa setigera, and Geranium maculatum. There is a small Phlox divaricata in front of the Echinacea, and a nice puddle running in a ribbon from south to north; the north end is deeper. Photographed July 7, 2017.
A little further south. Iris siberica ‘Butter and Eggs’, Anemone canadensis, and Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’. The puddle’s head waters seem to be in the middle of the anemones. Photographed July 7, 2017.

P.S. I did hunt down the Japanese beetles and dispatch them in a recycled plastic bag after spotting that one on the hydrangea. There were not too many, yet, but they were doing what beetles do when they are not eating.