Look at this naked lady

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Incidentally, I can’t remember if this is another of @saraclark’s transplants or one my mother gave me.

But it was a nice surprise when I looked outside this morning after getting yet another huge medical bill. I mean, that thing shot up from out of nowhere in no time.

Why I am not in charge of naming flowers

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While hiking up Lookout Mountain last year, Nick Fowler and I for some reason started talking about black-eyed Susans and how they got their name. We pretty much settled on the only possibility that made sense to us at the time: That the black-eyed Susan was a flower insensitively and macabrely named for a domestic violence altercation of yore. That is not true, the internet tells me, and I am quite relieved.

Anyway, I have some sweet black-eyed Susans in the yard this year β€” another bright spot transplanted from Middle Tennessee to Memphis by @saraclark.

Remember when I used to garden?

Yeah, me too. It seems that my desire to go outside and dig in the dirt has sort of been swept away along with my ability to write and take pictures. The good news is that I think I did a sufficient amount of prep work in the fall to save me some major spring ass pains. My mulched beds are not completely overrun with weeds (aside from the front bed’s four dozen or so volunteer oak trees I had to yank up the other day) and I planted enough in November that I should be able to just maintain this spring and summer.

I’ve not been crazy about going outside too much because of my perennial mosquito problem. I don’t want to get bitten and I don’t want to avoid getting bitten by dousing myself in chemicals. (Here is the part where sweet people want to chime in with natural mosquito remedies, which I appreciate so much, but I have tried them all and been munched on throughout my life anyway. I can drape myself in dryer sheets, clip an Off! fan on my hip, slather Skin So Soft on my skin and spray Deep Woods Off! all over myself to sit on the porch inside a ring of citronella candles with marigold plants flanking me, and still get eaten alive. I’m not exaggerating.) Oddly enough β€” and I swear if my saying this jinxes it, I will be forever pissed β€” the time I have spent outside this spring has been mercifully mosquito-free, despite my having seen plenty of those buggers swirling around in the breeze. It’s nearly June and I have had one bite this year. One! Usually I’d have hit thirty by now. I can’t help but wonder if my bodily chemistry has changed so drastically that they aren’t craving my sweet nectar right now. I would find that odd because my blood volume has doubled, so you’d think I would be the equivalent of a big meaty Ryan’s for those bastards. But, well, not yet.

Anyway. My tiny oak leaf hydrangea is blooming, as are the marigolds and the purple coneflowers (thanks, saraclark!) and the other big hydrangea I thought I killed last year in my attempt to eradicate the evil trumpet vine. My irises never did bloom. I find that extremely odd, but then again, my buttercups never bloomed either. Lack of sun? I guess it’s time to play musical flowerbeds and move some bulbs around.

The lilies are getting plumped up, which is really exciting because I forgot which ones are planted where, so the colors will be a surprise again. The tons and tons of of allium I planted still haven’t bloomed either. But the gerbera daisies I potted last year self-seeded and came back, although the orange one’s blooms are puny.

My mums are blooming already, too. The ones planted in the bed and the ones in pots. I haven’t done anything to any of them. Never pinched blooms, but they are bushing out really nicely. I guess I need to get to pinching, though, if I want them to bloom through fall. Am I the only person who feels guilty pinching blooms? It seems mean.