Monday, July 4, 2011

mid summer

colorful coleus give the hosta bed a nice bright border in the shade 

another coleus in the shade 
I am home alone for a while and enjoying the quiet, if you don't count the late night bang & booms of illegal fireworks blasting off all over the neighborhood. I don't know why they do it but when I see rockets I call for law enforcement. Other than some hot weather and annoying fire crackers things are pretty nice. We had two heavy rain storms yesterday. One early in the morning before daylight while I was driving Keith to National Airport to catch his 6 AM flight  to visit his family in Myrtle Beach, SC. The other storm struck right after I finished planting new coleus plants from the DuPont Circle Farmers Market about 7 PM. I was so happy to get them planted before the second storm hit, they were watered into the flower beds twice, once by watering can and once by heavy rain.
new red spine banana tree leaves 
I was in Manasas last week and went to my favorite Merrifield Nursery where I found something I have been dreaming about for a year or two. It is a true 'fire engine red' flowering crape myrtle tree with three trunks which I brought home for a spot in front of our apartment building. No picture available yet. On 10th St. we lost a big Linden tree due to drought a few years ago which was finally cut down last winter. No tree has been planted by the city, to replace it yet. I think if I put in my red Dynamite crape myrtle, which only grows to 20 feet tall they will be happy with it under the power lines above. I talked to the urban forestry expert from the city before they put in a red bud a couple summers ago. The redbud died this year from high heat and lack of water at the end of last summer. It was doing so well, I thought it was settled in, after two years but I was mistaken and it died after doing so well last year. Perhaps it died just to show me how important keeping up the watering of street trees is in this town. At Merrifield nursery I also found a two foot tall banana tree that has beautiful red spine leaves and a dark oxblood red trunk marked down 12 dollars! It will be a nice contrast to the tall green banana once it gets a little taller. Maybe it's leaves will be nice for ikebana arrangements? 

All sorts of flowers are blooming in the garden this time of year. It is really peak flowering time. Day lilies one of my favorites are going gang busters front and back and side yard. Also pictured here are hydrangea, balloon flower and blackberry lily.

To make my 4th of July really special as I was going out into the garden this morning I heard house wren singing. I looked out the porch window to discover that a pair of them were visiting and filling the little bird house I hung on a shepherd's hook back in the spring. They were there for about an hour while I wrote my journal inside, hoping they would stick around and make a family. I tried to catch them both in these pictures from the back window but they move too fast... take my word for it there were two and they took turns going inside with sticks and singing joyfully. Happy Fourth of July they seem to be saying.

Tour de France the famous bicycle race I began reading about in Junior High School French class has begun a couple days ago. Tour de France (TDF) is always inspiring to me and I am going to get my road bicycle down and fill it's flattened tires with air and give it a spin soon. With my protective helmet secured on my hard head, I hope to be ready soon to try out the new Metropolitan Branch Trail  recently opened a couple blocks from our apartment building. This new trail runs eight miles,  from downtown's Union Station to Silver Spring, Md passing by Brookland, up a steep hill to Fort Totten and beyond! It may be the perfect place to go get more exercise on two wheels. Walking has been great this year but I want to add some bicycling so I can get more strength in my legs. As we age, they say, the most important things keeping a person independent and out of nursing homes, are a pair of strong legs and good balance.

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