Sunday, August 16, 2020


Hello everyone. I hope any of you who live in the Midwest are recovering from Monday's windstorm, and have electric power restored.

We were quite fortunate: we didn't have much wind damage, and we lost power for only half an hour or so. We're just on the south edge of where the storm damage was worst -- only 10 miles or so north of us, people lost multiple trees and were without power for days (some areas still don't have electricity).

As you can see from the picture above, part of our old pear tree split off. Here's a few more pictures of that:

It looks like a pretty bad split -- we're not sure whether we'll leave the remaining part of the tree or not.

Pears littering the ground....

Moving around the other side of the Garden Shed, you can see a good-sized branch has fallen from the bigger tree at left.

Benches blown over....

More branches down....

But really, we lucked out compared to people north of us who had whole trees the size of the one in the last picture completely ripped out of the ground -- and often falling onto their house or car.

But onto some nicer pictures. My new redesigned area this year, the Tropical Garden around my patio, has grown as I hoped it would:

The two castor oil bean plants that I started indoors in early spring have grown even more monstrously huge than I expected -- wow! They're at least eight feet in height already. 

The surprise lilies have emerged, and look right at home among the tropical foliage. These were here when we moved here twelve years ago.
My variegated banana, known dramatically as a "blood banana"  (Musa acuminata var. zebrina) is finally growing after a slow start. It looks good behind these surprisingly big celosia that I bought as a four-pack of tiny plants from the Amish nursery near me.

The foliage on the other side of the patio is really looking pretty lush. The philodrendron is a houseplant out for the summer and sunk in a pot into the ground; the papyrus overwintered in my basement; I bought the colocasia last summer, and it's looking better than I have ever seen it, and the Majesty palm was purchased on sale this spring.

And my Paradise Garden, still under the Big Net for probably another month yet to prevent the roses and other flowers from the depredations of the Japanese beetles, is looking lush and beautiful -- and smelling wonderful in the evenings, from the scented tobacco and petunias that have sowed themselves in the beds:

Roses, dahlias, marigolds, petunias,sweet peas -- all have been flowering away during the hot summer months.

A scented daylily, 'So Lovely' smells wonderful too, and blooms quite well even in this relatively shaded part of the Paradise Garden.
'Royal Palace Prince' clothed in royal purple petunias.

Dahlia 'Jaipur' is ablaze with red-hot flowers.

My husband and I have been making a habit of sitting in the Paradise Garden most evenings, and it's been lovely to enjoy this beautiful scented flower garden after dark, looking up at the countless stars in the sky. The other night, someone nearby had a fire (likely burning tree branches downed by the storm), and the mix of wood smoke and tobacco/petunia flowers was so magical that we didn't want to go back inside and stayed out until after 11 pm. Summer nights can be wonderful....

Hope you are enjoying some magical summer nights in your own gardens, and that you did not suffer from the storm. Thanks for reading! -Beth