Friday, June 14, 2024

MY GARDEN PATH: Keep that sunscreen handy

by ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press
| July 24, 2022 1:00 AM

Summer has arrived with a bang…lots of them. I'm referring to thunder as we have had plenty of that lately. Do you sometimes wonder just how close that lightning is? If so, here's a way to tell:

Watch the sky for lightning and then count the number of seconds after a lightning strike until you hear thunder. Divide that number by 5 to determine the distance of the lightning strike in miles. For example, if you counted to 15 seconds before you heard the thunder, divide 15 by 5 to get 3 miles.

Foxgloves are interesting plants. They are classed as a biennial. This just means they don't bloom until their second year. From then on, you should always have blossoms. Some of mine reached more than six feet high this year. Foxgloves are the source of Digitalis, which is a potent heart medication that has saved many lives.

I've been seeing crane flies around lately. Some people call them “mosquito eaters.” They do resemble a mosquito…on steroids! No way can they live up to that nickname though as they don't have a mouth big enough to eat much of anything. Their main lot in life is to lay eggs in the grass to continue their family.

“My” robins' nest is still active, with a few differences. While the first batch of babies consisted of four youngsters, this second batch has only two. In a way that's a good thing as there now seems to be only one parent doing all the feeding. Not sure what happened to the other one.

Speaking of baby birds, I was treated to a close up view of some yesterday. I was taking a breather on our front porch when the picket fence area between us and our neighbor was suddenly busy. There were two California quail, (parents) and 11 or 12 babies…hard to get a count with them scurrying here and there so quickly.

They were so much fun to watch, but I fear for their future. We've had quail babies hatched in our neighborhood many times. The sad part is that each day there are less of them until they're all gone. The culprit: cats. People don't keep them inside, so they're free to kill anything that moves. They don't eat what they kill as they're not hungry. They just enjoy the kill. So sad.

On a brighter side, a lot of you must be enjoying the “fruits of your labors” by now. I'm talking about all those fruits and veggies from your garden. I don't have enough sun in my backyard to grow much besides flowers and one patch of raspberries. The front yard is full sun but our CC&Rs forbids the growing of any food crops out there. Sigh. I do enjoy those berries though and they're just now turning ripe. Yum

If your lawn is looking sad now, don't despair. When the weather gets hot, it's time to raise those mower blades. Jack them up to 3 inches or so, and the grass will thank you for it by looking better. I'm told that the wider the grass blades, the more hot sun they can tolerate.

My favorite T-shirt says: “When I found gardening, I bloomed.”

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Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently an active member of the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column has appeared in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October for the past 14 years.


Elaine Cerny