Baby, it’s hot outside…

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We all knew it was coming…
In February, when it’s freezing cold and you just can’t stand the snow anymore, we all anticipate the warmth summer will bring soon enough!
And, the warmth does come – some years, it takes longer than others.  But, when it finally gets here, the average Canadian finds it glorious.  However, “glorious”, in my mind at least, is weather that doesn’t make you feel like you are melting.  Today, with the humidex, it will be 43 degrees…that is just crazy!  For as much as I love summer, this is just a tad too much for me.  We wait for summer to spend quality time outdoors – doing whatever makes us happy – either gardening, swimming, or just hanging out with friends on the back patio having a cold glass of white wine!  But, in this weather, even swimming isn’t always refreshing (my pool…which is set to heat to 85, is now at 92…it feels like a giant bathtub!).
Anyhoo,  knowing the heat was going to be unbearable today, I went out last night and picked a few things.  The vegetable garden is loving this weather (although I haven’t picked a ripe tomato yet!).  Take a look and the few potatoes I pulled from the ground and beans that are growing like wild fire:

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Sorry for the bad quality of the picture…I had to take it quickly before the sun set!
This is the second year I have planted potatoes – probably because my dad to me to plant them again.  Last year, I planted them and they took up a lot of space, and when the leaves died off (which is when I read that you have to dig them up), I pulled them out.  I was disappointed because only a few were decent sized and the rest were tiny…and then that was it for the summer.  My dad told me that when the leaves start to die off, you start scraping around the base of the plant looking for large potatoes.  When you find them, you pull them out, being careful to leave the baby ones connected to the vine to keep growing.  I pick about 4-5 every day!
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I thought I had planted a snowball bush but I’m pretty sure this is a hydrangea (all the information says that hydrangeas can be about 12 inches across (and mine are at least that!).  They are beautiful…and I cut some at the end of the summer and dry them upside down to use in arrangements later!
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Purple Coneflower is a heat-tolerant flower, a native plant that grows well in our part of the world. Prickly, cone-shaped heads of bronze-brown are surrounded by pink/purple petals (ray flowers) on stalks from two to four feet high. Leaves are alternate, simple, and coarse.  According to the Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants blog, “Purple coneflower has a long history of medicinal use. Native Americans used it as an antidote for snake bit and other venomous bites and stings. It was also used in a smoke treatment for headaches. Purple coneflower was used to calm toothaches and sore gums, and tea form it was drunk to treat colds, mumps, arthritis, and a blood purifier (often a euphemism for the treatment of venereal diseases). Further, it was used as a treatment for pain, indigestion, tumors, malaria and hemorrhoids. After a long period of disregard, purple coneflower has come back into vogue in recent years. It is used primarily as an immune-system booster and it has been used as a treatment for skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, boils and wounds, burns, cold sores and genital herpes. It is also recommended for use to treat bronchitis, tonsillitis, meningitis, tuberculosis, abscesses, whooping cough, arthritis and ear infections.”
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And this is why I don’t deadhead some of my perennials (especially those with lots of seeds).  If you walk around the garden, it’s like a symphony of music between the bees collecting pollen to dragonflies, like this one, having a field day!!  This is the pod of one of my poppies that has dried up.  It’s not the most attractive thing, but this guys sure loves it!

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