It is getting really hot lately, which is a nice change. But most plants are having a hard time getting used to it, especially the ones that were still inside a few days ago.

I got these two ruellias last year, and they even bloomed (the pink one, while it was inside the house).

After I moved them outside last week, their leaves suffered some damage. I knew they could not stand direct sunlight, and I thought they were protected in the spot that I chose for them… obviously this was not the case.

Some of the gladioli are about to bloom, but they don’t look to be in the promised color.

They were a part of a color coordinated set of bulbs in yellow and orange, and at this stage they seem more like variegated pink and white. The funny thing is that I planted other bulbs that Yulita sent me, which are supposed to be exactly of pink/white blooming plants. There could be no confusion, because they were planted a few months apart; just one of Yulita’s bulbs has sprouted and the plant is still very small.

The greenhouse is still in the middle of the porch, and it’s a bit hard for me to reach some plants. The real summer has started at last, so I hope we will not need it anymore. It is portable, so we can move it in the yard soon. Now there is not enough space around it, so it is hard to water and rearrange the pots freely.

Several of my plants have withered after suffering some diseases, despite all the pest control spray that I used on them. I am beginning to think that pests have color preferences, as most of these plants were blooming in purple – my “cosmic’ petunia and purple lobelia.

I would expect this with petunias, as it has happened multiple times. They are quite susceptible to diseases, so I had given them up long ago. But I could not resist these nice plants in one of the “men’s malls”; the “cosmic” one was the only survivor from this batch.

I wonder about the lobelia. It shared a common flower box with another lobelia plant, they were both quite vigorous for some time. Then the purple lobelia quickly withered, and the blue lobelia is fine. If it was a pest, how could it not be affected too?

Anyway, I absolutely needed some new purple plants. Purple is one of my favorite colors, especially in combination with green, so my “floral palette” felt a bit incomplete.

We were in a hurry on our last supermarket run, so we did not stop at the roadhouse plant stall, but I regretted it later. I saw a lot of purple there, while gazing longingly through the car window. Then I looked around our local gardening centers, but I did not find anything inspiring. I spent some time looking at a tray of lantana plants in yellow, pink and orange hues. But finally I decided against buying them – I still have a lantana from last year, it is not doing very well and it does not bloom anymore. It is not quite easy to grow – it is poisonous, and the leaves slightly burn the skin every time you touch them, a bit like nettle. It is also very fragile, so the branches break easily while watering or moving the pot.

My orange lantana last summer

I spotted a slug in one of the pots, and I dropped it in the yard – but there seem to be more, as the next morning some zinnia leaves were gnawed. These creatures are everywhere! We gave up growing anything in the yard because of them, as it was a losing battle, and now they invade the porch too. At least I hope there would not be as many of them at this height.

I started sunbathing on the porch again. The location is perfect – I sit in the rocking chair, where it is sunny in the morning while the heat is not too intense yet. It is below the canopy that Nick made when we moved in here, so the shade is moving gradually, and around noon it covers the chair (with me in it) completely. If there was some water nearby, it would be better than a beach, as our yard is green and much calmer. Maybe we could fix this too, if we install Nacho’s portable pool here.

Another great advantage of sunbathing on the porch – the lack of other people. I have disliked going to the beach for a long time, as it is often too busy and noisy. The worst of all is that many people there seem to watch, judge and even openly discuss others. Now that I have lost a lot of weight, I am not so self-conscious to walk around in my bikini and I can finally “own it” again. But it feels so much better to do this somewhere private. We are so lucky to be living here!

I don’t care too much about tanning (though I think a “sun-kissed” look is beautiful). To me, it is about being able to absorb the sunlight with more of my skin – and anyway, it would be too hot to lay in the summer sun with your clothes on.

We sent some more of our mugs yesterday, a “Fantasy Garden” to Shve for her birthday and a “Mandala Song” to Polina – she chose it as a birthday gift too, for a friend of hers.

Of course, I included some surprises for both of them too.

I went to the courier office to drop the parcels. On the way there I have to cross the railroad line every time, at our small local train station. There is a huge puddle nearby, formed by muddy water gathered from the constant rain. I recently noticed many tadpoles there, and now they have turned into tiny jumping frogs! Each time I see something like this, it feels like nature is trying to regain its territory from mankind.

I looked around the garden centers, as usual – I still needed to fill the gaps left from the withered purple plants. I got a campanula, pink phlox and another reddish plant that I forgot the name of. (I seem to do this often, but then I do some research, and I usually find out the varieties.)

Nacho sent me more pictures of the nasturtiums that I grew for him from seeds. They are blooming wildly – he said they made his soul sing.

I had not seen my “yard cat” Krasivcho from ages, and I really missed him.

Krasivcho relaxing on our windowsill (photo from last year)

Yesterday I saw him on the street in front of our house. I called him and he came closer, meowing and head-butting. I held the door open for him, but he did not dare to come into the yard. He was obviously afraid of Topo, our neighbor’s dog. Topo is running freely around most of the time, chasing all critters fiercely, so no cats visit us anymore.

My decorative pomegranate tree (a birthday present from Nick) has started to bear fruit. I think they are not edible, but they look so cute!

We added a new mug to our shop, “Rambling Rose”. Its design is a print from one of my textile collages, denim fabric with floral embroidery.

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