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By Bev Wieler

Out My Kitchen Window


Lantanas are blooming their little hearts out. They love the hot, humid days of July in Nebraska. Humidity occasionally fogs over the view out my kitchen window but, as it slides off, we are delighted to again see mama turkey by the flower garden.

She was standing as if on guard this wet morning. On guard she was, as to our delight, we spotted a young turkey nearby, busily pecking away for bugs in the grass.

Summer out the kitchen window includes, not only the turkeys, but also bright bursts of deep red from a day lily, named Reb, to a brilliant yellow day lily named Lady Friend. In between them are day lilies in a peach tone with very ruffly edges to a true red day lily that blooms on long stems reaching for the sun. The red color seems to pop as the plant blooms between pots of bright yellow-green coleus.

Waiting their turn in the flower show is a heavy hanging pod of tiger lilies. The pods are orange and seem about to burst with bloom.

Closer to ground level, there are spots of color from pink toned vinca that were planted late in the season to fill in colorless spots. A short variety of zinnias bloom in bright orange and and Dreamland zinnias are flooding their area with blooms in shades of pink and gold.

White blooming petunias, vinca and impatients also fill in the flower garden, adding variety and brightness. Spikes of blue annual Victoria blue salvia add another dimension to the flower bed.

It may sound wonderful, but flower gardens also are home to many unwanted vegetation and a gardener can go out daily to find yet another weed has sprouted from the soil.

I recently visited with the lady who owned our acreage more than 30 years ago. She always asks about the place that had been in her family for years. I keep reminding myself that the weeds are from the seeds that grew here before we moved in. You have to blame someone.

Along with the weeds, the flower and veggie gardens have been a challenge this year. Our first problem was the cold, then the extreme heat.

The next garden dispute was with little grasshoppers who invaded the entire area. They started by stripping the foliage off carrots and munched crazily on the potatoes and even attacked the marigold foliage. Applications of the products Eight and Seven, and yet another insecticide product, eventually slowed the chomping of our plants to a slower pace, allowing the plants to shoot new leaves and grow.

The potatoes began to bloom but were slowed down and are a bit later than usual in producing those ever-delicious young potatoes.

We again have way too many hills of our favorite, fingerling potatoes. We like to roast them using the grill. We clean ours, cover them with olive oil and season them with sea salt before roasting.

There have been countless negatives in gardening this year but for the garden hobbiest, the challenges are met head on and we continue to learn, no matter how many years we have been gardening.

Even mid-July, I find myself transplanting flowering plants to new areas, knowing that isn't a good thing to do in the summer heat. But, why not? It's always worth the chance of the plants springing into bloom within a few weeks and hasn't cost me a thing besides my time. I did do the transplanting on a cloudy day which certainly helped.

Bev Wieler

Daylily • A yellow lady friend daylily gravitates toward sunlight in Bev Wieler's yard, in West Point.

The cloudy days are also wonderful for snapping a few photos in the flower garden. I've been using my Iphone and feel like I'm cheating using it rather than my Nikon. The phone is hooked on my belt as I work in the garden and of course, that makes it easy to access when I see a flower that needs its picture taken.

Whatever method you want to use to take photos of flowers, I suggest you do. Photos are fun to share with friends and to even call up when the blooms are done and you can again enjoy the summer days in the garden.

For now, I will enjoy mornings of looking out my kitchen window at the colors of the flower garden and even the brown and gray camouflage tones of a mother turkey and her chick as they work at controlling the bugs in the yard.


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