This Summer, my garden lights went out one after the other. Tonight I changed out the batteries. And everything looks like new again. Now, the little garden fairies can easier find their way back home. Sara and her friend from across the street like this very much.
Now, the days are becoming seemingly shorter and the night are longer, I like to light up some candles in glass jars. Usually, I make DIY-candle jars to save money. A couple of ol’ pickle jars, frost spray paint, silhouette-prints and cutouts will do the magic. And our girls are in awe.
Here is another candle jar I made on a cold and wet February afternoon, four years ago. Boredom hit hard and I wanted to do something creative for my garden. I went to Pinterest to get an idea, what I could possibly do. On that day, I found an old pickle jar and wax paper in my pantry. After I ripped up the wax paper into tiny pieces, I began to glue them to the jar. This process took a couple of hours, since the pieces were small, and I overlapped them. When the jar was all covered in paper, I looked at it and had even a better idea. I printed out the symbol for LOVE in Chinese-Mandarin, cut it out and glued it to the wax-papered jar. Perfect for February, right?! It looks amazing with a lit candle in it.
At this time of the year, the basil plants are at their peaks. The basil blooms are all over my yard. I have some plants, I let bloom out and go to seed. Other basil plants I snip the blossom off for better leaf growth. The plant can concentrate on the leaves; they turn dark green and thicker. I use lots of basil for spaghetti sauces, meat and egg dishes. And just rubbing the fingers on a basil leaf is so refreshing, when I work in the garden.
Sara and I planted seeds for the Autumn/Winter garden, all afternoon. We used coconut shell-soil as seed starter. Sara helped putting the soil in every hexagon, and I stuck the seed in them. Everytime I used a different seed, I also gave one to her. She’s always fascinated, how different the seeds look like, before she plants them in her pots.
Now, we planted all kind of goodies: beans, corn, cucumbers, lettuces, squashes, sunflowers, etc. Autumn planting is so much more fun in Texas. The seeds have a warm start. And when it begins to get cooler, it’s easier to work outdoors again.
Last year I planted some zinnia seeds, and we had beautiful blooms all Summer long. Some must have dropped their seeds, because more zinnias are blooming behind by greenhouse this year. They are very drought resistent and perfect for the Texas Summer.
It is almost the end of July. At this time of the year, we usually have three or four dragonflies flying around in our backyard. They find themselves a nice narrow surface to rest on it. Usually they’ll sit on wilted grass, tomato cage frames, branches, small sticks, etc. Our pool seems to attract them as well. And sometimes, I see them diving right onto the water surface. This Widow Skimmer rests on a green onion, and keeps an eye out for those mockingbirds. Dragonflies are on the mockingbird’s menu. It’s the circle of life. But the very next day, I have another four dragonflies visiting my backyard. So it is all good.
In one of my pots is a plant growing, which I couldn’t figure out what it is. After some research and asking someone online, I finally got my answer: It is a Velvet Leaf. I have seen these plants sitting in corn fields before. So I wonder if the wind or a critter had a part in it, that a seed ended up in my pot. I probably will never know.
Velvet Leaf is native to South Asia. In China, it is grown for is jute-like fiber. The leaves are used for cooking. And the seeds can be consumed as well. In the 18th century, it was introduced to North America. Since Velvet Leaf likes rich soils, it can be mostly found in crop fields. The Velvet Leaf became very invasive, and is one of the most detrimental weeds to corn causing decreases. So, what’s good on one continent might be not so great on another. I guess, I have to take care of the seed pods, before the seeds will drop and causing a stink in the long run. 😉