Music for Hot Weather

Once upon a time, my friend Matt put this song on a mix tape for me, back when such things were actual tapes, and I listened to it over and over again. I love Muddy Waters as it is. I just think he has one of the voices of the 20th Century.

But what I really like about this song is harder to put my finger on. It’s not just the lyrics and the music. It’s something weird going on. It’s like you can hear the hot, smoke-filled summer air between the musicians. Morganfield sounds like he’s right up next to you, his whole body pressed against yours, his lips right by your ear. And, I guess you could mistake the drums for the racing of your own heart.

But there’s something about the echo on the guitar and the bass (not how they echo each other, though that’s very nice), but how those notes seem linger so long, like they’re just hanging in the night air, one hot July. This song just sounds like a hot night to me.

Fingering My Poppies (Not a Euphamism! Though… it would be a cool one if it was)

I have been going out every morning and fingering my poppies. This is just, basically, grabbing the leaves, rubbing them, trying to decide which ones have signs of life and which don’t. I think the bigger one is going to pull through just fine, but the two smaller ones are still kind of giving me fits. Don’t get me wrong. They were in bad shape when I bought them, but they were inexpensive, and I was determined that they’d perk up once they got in the ground.

The thing about Bates, though, is that they keep their plants really, really wet and my ground is still really wet. So, I’m not sure how much to actually water them. My ground is certainly not as wet as Bates keeps their plants, but I’m sure as hell not watering anything else in the yard. Shoot. It’s still muddy under the trees. But I feel like watering helps the plants settle.

So, I don’t know. I didn’t water them Monday or Tuesday, but I watered them this morning. I also think there’s definite signs of new growth on both of the smaller plants, though it’s also obvious that the almost dead leaves are genuinely dead. I wonder if I should pick them off.

My Shasta Daisy is working on some blooms. I about want to roll my eyes and tell it “Um, your cousins got here weeks ago, where’ve you been?” Ha, well, I will be curious to see what the differences between the shasta daisy and the ox-eye daisy are, but frankly, I’m a little tired of white. Thank goodness the columbine have been colorful, and the blanket flowers, but I will have ox-eye daisy plants to give away, at some point. I like them fine, but there are too many.

Also, did you know that chamomile smells like green apples?

“When Do Hollyhocks Bloom?”

Every day I come home from work and I go out to inspect my garden and see what is happening where to whom. I have eternal patience and curiosity about when the magnolia will bloom. I know, if it does, it will be any time now, because I see the buds and I see other magnolias in the neighborhood with their big white flowers like grandmas with arms full of handkerchiefs bidding you adieu.  So, either Henry will bloom this year or he won’t. I don’t know.

But with the hollyhocks, this is the year! Last year, I planted them, watched them come up and then nothing. Now, this is to  be expected. Hollyhocks don’t bloom in the first year (though some will, just to fuck with you, or so I hear). But they also don’t do much above the surface. All the action is down below, where they’re making vast webs of roots (one reason my hollyhocks survived the flood just fine; they were well-anchored). This is the year all that root building leads to something above ground and I’m just waiting for it to start. I have two or three hollyhocks that look like they might have the starts of buds and every day I go out to see how they’re doing.

The Professor has some awesome hollyhocks in the yard next to hers and I vaguely remember having them when we were little. But I’m still kind of mystified and curious as to how this huge tower of flowers is going to happen. And I can’t wait!

So, this morning, I went to type “When do hollyhocks bloom?” into Google, when, of course, it came right up in the autocomplete. Apparently, I have asked this question before. I think the thing is that I don’t like the answer. I don’t want to wait until mid-summer!

I’m still confused about whether hollyhocks are actual true biennials or just short-lived perennials. I mean, it seems like, if they were honest to god true biennials, I’m going to be sorry I didn’t plant more seeds along the back of the bed this year, because I am dooming myself to hollyhocks only in alternating years. Bloom this year. Die off. Seeds grow next year. Bloom the year after. etc.

Unless… and this is something I’ve been wondering with a lot of perennials (and biennials)… if they go to seed this year, do the seeds germinate this year, and get enough growth that they bloom next year?

I don’t know.

Also, weirdly enough, I hurt both my knees. The one was just a little sore yesterday, but the left one is staging some kind of full on revolt. It doesn’t hurt to walk on it. But it hurts to bend it too much and it hurts like hell to move it, like, if you’re rolling over in bed. Holy shit. Oh, and it hurts when you poke at it.  It’s weird.

Ha, I blog like this to practice for when I’m an old lady. Just be thankful I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m repeating stories about my hollyhocks every time I see you.