The Bronze Fennel looks beautiful after it rains.

I would never have planted it in a pot if I had known how big it would get. I assumed it would stay herb-sized, and planted it alongside sage, creeping thyme, and variegated oregano. A tight fit, but not unheard of. Besides, I reasoned, the fennel is an annual. So next year, when the other plants need more room, the fennel won’t be there any more… I never counted on it taking over the planter this year. It’s grown a foot in the past month.

Blooms:The roses all have their second flush of buds on them – even the two itty-bitty climbing roses! – So we may yet see what those look like this year. The Easy Going rose has been so lovely and prolific, and then it was attacked by mites and has been struggling since; it has some new growth on it, though, so it may pull through. The tomato plants – even the tiny little newest one – all have baby tomatoes on their vines. The scarlet runner beans are pumping out their bright red flowers – even if their beans aren’t that tasty, it’s been worth the show. The corn is up to my waist, the echinacea and yarrow are pumping out flowers, the Whirling Butterflies gaura is smothering the rose bed…

and Bums: The first Asian lily bloomed in the back yard yesterday. It is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the lily I thought I had bought – an insipid, non-fragrant yellow instead of pink-edged, somebody-catch-me-I-think-I-just-smelled-heaven-fragrant white. And the yellow Crocosmia patch I had seems to be having great difficulty. It’s turning yellow and brown, and I haven’t seen a flower stalk yet. The red ones right next to it are sending up buds… what could be wrong?

And my poppies. Ah, poppies. My favorite, most lusted-after flower, and I cannot grow them. Beauty of Livermore survived digging squirrels, excessive rainfall, voles, and territorial cats last year (the plant just plain old disappeared from July to this May and I’d given it up for a goner) to delight me by unexpectedly coming up strong and happy this spring…. only to keel over and die just this week of I-can’t-figure-out-what-itis, right before she was due to put out buds. If it’s not lack of water, it’s excess water, too much heat, not enough sun… Huge, nodding, loud hussies of flowers were everywhere in Canada – surely in this milder clime it should be even easier to grow them! Right? -sigh- I refuse to give up just yet… I’ll give them one more year.

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