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Friday, January 11, 2013

"another year over AND a new one just begun . . . " PART TWO-E (July 2012)

Today's entry here on Blogger is part two-E of a series of posts pertaining to a year-end review for special occurrences in my rooftop garden for the year 2012 (the schedule for this series is described in part one as well as part two-A of this topic) and in today's entry I will be reviewing the month of July for the year 2012.

Meanwhile, in my review for the "events" which occurred in my garden for the month of April 2012 , I brought up the fact that T.S. Eliot was known to have said, "April is the cruelest month . . . " 

And although April 2012 had been far from being the "cruelest month" in my garden this year, the month of July 2012, whilst it was exceptional because it marked the beginning of an array of birds (such as the one seen in the image atop today's blog entry) coming to visit my garden; was filled with weather related conditions that resulted in the death of some of the things as well as causing an extreme "sickness" in others, which I grow, and you will see that as I proceed with this review.

As for the image atop today's entry, it shows a mourning dove making him/herself at home in the container which houses my Acer shirasawanum's (Aka Autumn Moon tree).

In bygone years, I had heard the "voices" of mourning doves singing in my garden when alighting on this tree's container; hence I took the picture at a vantage point through the window of my door in an effort to not startle the bird.
I admit my taking pictures this way puts an emphasis on how dirty my window was on July 1st of 2012, but hopefully you can look past that and derive pleasure from seeing the birds as I did. In the following image you can see this mourning dove had been joined by a house finch.

They are both staring — shamelessly — at whatever was occurring on my neighbors's balcony on Sunday, July 1st — the start of the Fourth of July weekend for 2012. Perhaps my neighbors were preparing for a holiday picnic? In any event, it wasn't very long before my visiting house finches had their own Fourth of July picnic as evidenced by the images below.

These images were taken from afar as I wanted the birds to be better acquainted with their surroundings before I started taking closeups (which I was eventually able to do as you will see as this series of review posts progresses). Be that as it may, at least these images serve well for a "review" and there are others on one of my Pinterest Boards titled "my" birds & THEIR feeders."

But getting back to the Fourth of July of 2012 "festivities" in my garden, whilst a number of finches enjoyed a picnic at "their" feeder, others hung (as seen in the image below) out on the string lights which are strung above my garden.

And since a number of my newfound feathered friends were facing west, I surmised they might've been getting ready to see the fireworks whose display could be seen from my "hood," although not from my garden — unless you are sitting on the lights!

However the birds weren't the only ones in the garden enjoying the holiday, my 'Tamukeyama' (AKA Japanese Red Maple), in honor of the United States' colors of red, white and blue flaunted her red foliage, while my "spent" salad greens proudly raised their arms (blue flowers) in honor of Old Glory. Both of these feisty "things" can be seen in the images posted below.

Not to be outdone in showing off foliage — even though her colors are not "patriotic," my Continus Coggygria (AKA Smokey Bush or Royal Purple or 'Grace') sported her lovely pink edged leaves.

However, even though a number of birds continued to return to my garden to nosh long after their Fourth of July celebration, as evidenced by the following photo-ops of some red house finches below.

Meanwhile, certain things that I grow began to deteriorate very rapidly as weather conditions had been either torrents of rain for days in a row or a scorching heat wave which spanned a number of days! 

Neither of which my beloved mini larch was able to tolerate as evidenced by the following photo-ops.

It was hard to believe that this sweet tree had been thriving in My of 2012, as well as indicated by the aerial images taken by Juan V when he was here that month! The larch's presence is indicated by a circle which was added to each of Juan's photos that are posted below.

May 8th 2012
May 28th 2012
My larch's fate resembled that of a person who is healthy and vibrant on a given day and then stricken down by a vicious aggressive flu or cancer, for the heat wave of July 2012 moved upon my garden with a vengeance, taking my larch as a prisoner. I wrote about this particular heat wave here on Blogger in previous posts which you may reference by here and here.

As a result of my larch's reaction to Mother Nature, the first thing on the "agenda" when Juan V came to my garden in July was to assess the prognosis of my larch and in doing so we had remove all of its needles in the hopes that in doing so the tree could use its energy to recover. The haircut (needle removal) which we gave the larch can be seen in the photo-op below.

Then afterwards we hid the larch in a secluded corner of my garden where we hoped the tree would ultimately recover. The rest of my garden had also taken a beating in the heat wave but most of it had bounced back as evinced by the aerial view Juan V took of my garden (posted below) when we had completed our work for the first week of July in 2012.

The white arrow indicates the corner where placed the larch so he could recuperate whilst the pink arrow indicates some new growth in one of my Helichrysum bracteatym (AKA Strawflowers). The image below shows a detail of the flowers.

As striking as the new flowers were, they were not much of a comfort re my concern over the fate of my larch!

Moreover, the day after Juan left, a powdery mildew attacked the foliage of one of my shrubs of roses as well as the foliage of my Physocarpus opulifolius AKA Coppertina Tree. In bygone years I have lost things I grow that were attacked by mildew, a type of mildew that is "common" in the area where I live when we are experiencing the kind of weather conditions I've alluded to in this entry. A photo-op of it "targeting" my rose shrub's and coppertina's foliage is posted below.

It may look harmless, but I assure you it's not and the tendency it has to spread to other plants, vines, trees, etceteras is frightening. And it was starting to go for my beloved Actinida kolomikta and Actimida (AKA Kiwi Vines) with a vengeance! It was discouraging after all the work Juan V and I had done repotting to optimize the comfort and needs of what I grow!

But the evening of my discovering mildew was on the prowl in my garden, a new and very little friend appeared in my garden and she can be seen in the photo-ops below:

This new friend is one that I would come to call Cam (after my dearly departed  grandparents Clara and Albert Melahn). Cam had an entourage and so her mourning dove comrades still came around when she was here and one of her pals is pictured below.

With the arrival of Cam, and the continued visits by mourning doves and an array of house finches, I had plenty of tasks to do to keep me out of mischief and keep my mind off my larch as Juan V had said we would check its prognosis when he returned on July 24th 2012 (of course I would nurture it in the interim).

And the visiting birds certainly did keep entertained in the interim as evidenced by a few of their photo-ops posted below.

The birds' antics inspired me to produce Vittual Flip books in their honor and they can be viewed in my Vimeo Library. For the house finches seen in my book, Meet the Finches click here and for Cam, my "lone" cardinal, click here to view the book I've dedicated to her known as Words in my Beak Part One.

And all throughout the interim period of Juan's visits, not only did visiting provide entertainment for my struggling larch and me, but a few of the things I grow here even attempted to cheer my larch on as she struggled to recover! This can be seen below as my contorted hazel nut, fennel, as well as a hens and  chicks rose their "arms" in solidarity in support of my larch!

But alas, all of our heartfelt efforts did not help my sweet larch survived and when Juan V returned the last week of July, he found the larch to have died as even its bark could not keep up with the fight for life as you can probably surmise from the image below.

Juan V had to pull the larch out of its container and my seeing its empty the empty bowl (pictured below);

brought back a memory from when my father had left us when I was nine years old. As a child I had recalled that when my father left, there was a space in the medicine cabinet where his Old Spice used to be, but when he moved away, even the smell of his after shave was gone.

And so it was with my larch: Her passing left more than a vacant container that used to be her home.

Thankfully, Juan V took an aerial view of my bird feeder on that sad July 2012 afternoon and his image can be seen below with an orange arrow pointing to the feeder.

In honor of  my passing larch, I was certain that at least my birds would lend their voices (provided they had food) to my garden, as evidenced by a lone house finch watching us from his vantage point atop my string lights as we did our work — and watching the bird feeder too — as he awaited me to replenish his "dish" with food!

And, dear reader, as I close this post there's a question I have for you and that is this, do you think that I am correct in my "observation," that the month of July (in urban gardens) can be "the crulest month" as our "friend," T.S. Eliot equated with April?

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