Monday Miscellany

It's time for another "catch up" post, where I combine all of the mini topics of the last week or so -- the things that don't deserve an entire post for themselves. I'll start with weather.

As it has been with many parts of the country, lately it's been extremely hot and dry. By "hot" I mean over 95ºF every day. By "dry" I mean very little rain. The air itself (as is typical in St. Louis) is not dry -- it's quite humid, so the combination of heat and humidity means small, strong thunderstorm cells pop up almost every afternoon and move through the area.


We get to see some beautiful and dramatic cloud formations, even if they don't turn into storms.

When they do form storms, they are usually pretty small and the chances of them hitting any particular area are small too. It *is* pretty cool to be able to watch the dark storm clouds pass just to the north or south, seeing the lightning, hearing the thunder, and have blue sky and sunlight overhead.

As a gardener with rock-hard, baked-dry soil and thirsty, drooping plants, it's quite frustrating at the same time. We did finally get some rain here Friday night, so things are not too bad. We could still use more.

I have gardener friends in Indiana that have had only 1/4" of rain total for the past month and a half. They've watched (on radar) storm after storm head toward them then dissipate just before getting to them, miss to the north or south, or even split and go around to the north AND the south. Now that would be frustrating!

Next topic is a short one: the cypress vines are starting to flower, which should make the hummingbirds happy. Maybe they'll start getting along better now.

I doubt it though. They seem to spend all of their time chasing each other and defending their territories.

Next, what's different about all of these rose blooms?

The difference is that they're actually full, whole blooms. No missing petals, no half-eaten buds, no leaves with holes in them. The Japanese beetles are gone, so the roses should be relatively unmolested for the rest of the year -- unless the deer start getting hungry again.

Next: sleeping bees.

Why do bees do this? Although normally they are almost constantly on the move, sometimes they just sit somewhere, completely still for a long time. Are they sleeping? Are they ill? Dying? I wish I knew.

Finally, an exciting bamboo discovery. Here's the normal leaves of my Semiarundinaria okuboi bamboo:

Here are the leaves I noticed the other day on a single culm (cane):

They're variegated (striped with lighter colors)! My hope is that this plant will put up more culms like this next year, so I can dig them up and eventually have a brand-new variety of bamboo that is not yet available anywhere. Chances are this won't happen, and this one culm was a one-time mutation, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Bamboo is never boring, but gardening discoveries like this are extra exciting!

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