It blooms! Wonder of wonders. Now if I can just get this sucker to climb and keep blooming. But even if this is the only rose I see all summer, I’ll be happy. It stood up to yet another torrential thunderstorm last night—the kind that leaves you quaking in bed at 4 a.m., counting the seconds between the flash that lights up the entire bedroom and the piercing thunderclap that follows. A huge limb came down in the side yard and the two honey locusts dropped smaller branches everywhere, and the normally dry swale separating our backyard from the neighbors’ looked like a swollen creek. But the rose is still there. It’s my little miracle.
Raspberry harvest is picking up, too. I got eight edible berries today and had to toss only two. An 80 percent success rate, compared to yesterday’s discouraging 33 percent. Gotta love those numbers.
Did a little weeding last night before the storms moved in, but didn’t last long. The wild strawberries are back in an area I’d completely cleaned out just a few weeks ago—attention must be paid!—but I could stomach only about 20 minutes before heading back inside. Even the slightest movement stirs up a cloud of mosquitoes and other biting nuisances. Our lawn guys recommended an insecticide application this year to get rid of the anthills in the yard—I’m convinced our entire community is built on one monstrous anthill—and tamp down the mosquito population in all the plants and shrubbery. We’ve never even contemplated such a move before; we tend to be anti-chemical, and in previous summers, we’ve just mowed around the anthills and dealt with the skeeters by using a mosquito lantern. But, as we know, this summer is not going to be like the previous ones. It’s us or them.
I do want to give a shout-out to my patio mosquito solution, however. It’s called ThermaCELL (available at your friendly neighborhood Target) and it’s a marvel—a small lantern powered by a butane cartridge. The wick inside is lit with the push of a button, and the heat rises to the top, where it activates a small blue pad that emits a slow, long-lasting dose of repellent that keeps the skeeters at bay within a 15-square-foot area. There’s no flame, no smell, no batteries or extension cords, nothing scary to slather on your skin, and it works. Smaller hand-held models can be used in the garden…which is probably what I ought to be doing.