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Happy July!

The sweet corn is tasseling, the green beans are ready to pick, and I'm starting to get behind on eating summer squash. Must be July. A happy time if you are a gardener, a kid out of school, or someone who just enjoys being able to go outside without a jacket.  I'm enjoying every minute of it!


Every time I step outside the back door, a bunny runs off from its hiding place right in the middle of the bed where most of the violas are growing. And yes, some of the violas, like Viola 'Etain' pictured here are still blooming, probably because it hasn't been that hot and we've gotten quite a bit of rain.

But back to the bunny.  Oh my. I used to fight with those rabbits and do everything I could to chase them away. I tried live trapping them. I tried hot pepper to discourage them from eating plants.

Those were the days. Now I live and let live. Are they eating the violas? Hopefully they aren't because there is delicious clover in the lawn, though they did eat a few rows of green beans down to nubbins a month or so ago. But guess what I discovered? Those green bean plants came back and are growing just fine now. They are a little behind but I think I'll still get some green beans from them, in spite of the bunnies nibbling on the seedlings.

Live is much calmer when you just accept that a few bunnies are going to live in the garden and nibble on a few plants.  Even my neighbor accepts this! Though, he does want to know if I've named "my" bunny who happens to also spend time in his backyard.

For the record, I have not named him, or her, yet.  


This month, I'm recommending Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Intriguing characters, a British village, a mysterious death, and a good read all the way to the end.  Pick a time when you can read, and read, and read because once you start reading it, you won't want to stop. At least I didn't.  Plan accordingly.  Then come along with me back to WWII and The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen. A granddaughter finds out quite a bit about her grandmother after her grandmother dies and leaves her a Paris apartment no one knew about. What mysteries will be revealed about you after your death?

On the gardening side of reading, I've been collecting old books about violets, violas, and pansies, including Pansies, Violas, and Sweet Violets by Elizabeth Farrar (1989, Hurst Village Publishing). You may or may not be surprised to find that NO ONE else had put it on Goodreads as a book they read. I had the rare privilege of being the first person to do so. You will also not be surprised that all the books about violets, violas, and pansies are old books.  It seems like this one from 1989 was the last one written... Hmmm... maybe it's time for a new book on the genus Viola?

(Check out my Goodreads profile for more on my reading history.)

(That is correct... I don't include affiliate links to buy books. If you want to buy these books, please go to an independent bookstore near you to buy them or buy them online from Bookshop. On Bookshop, you can choose your favorite independent bookstore and all proceeds go to them. Don't have a favorite bookstore? Pick mine, Wild Geese Bookshop in Franklin, Indiana.)


When I was a kid, I feel like we did a lot of craft projects in the summertime... decoupage, embroidery, cross-stitch, painting. My mom probably encouraged these projects to keep us from whining around in the afternoons about how bored we were.  Afternoons were much longer back then!

I think that's why it feels natural and comforting to me to do craft projects on summer afternoons.

This summer, I've suddenly become fascinated with junk journals, which lead me to haul out all kinds of scrapbooking supplies from eons ago and then embark on a project to press and dry flowers. I wrote about it in a recent blog post.

Have I put together a junk journal? Not yet. I got distracted by pressing and drying flowers. But I shall!  If you want to fall down a rabbit hole, just look up "junk journals" on YouTube. There are lots of videos by crafters who will show you how to make a junk journal. Many are in the UK and Australia.  


My next book has been uploaded for printing but we are still working through a couple of cover issues before I order that first copy. I hope we have them resolved by the end of this week!

In the meantime, in anticipation of this book finally coming out in early August, I started a project on July 1 to record and publish a video on YouTube every day to highlight each chapter.  With each new video, I try to do something a little different and improve my video editing skills. You can binge watch them and be the judge of whether they are getting better or not. I try to keep each video to 3 minutes or less. 

Speaking of videos, I also created a little video with Dee Nash of a snippet of one of our recording sessions for our podcast, The Gardenangelists. In this one, we introduce a new segment on our weekly podcast.



I'm more convinced than ever that starting your own plants from seeds is a wondrous thing. And I'm not just talking about starting a few tomatoes and peppers from seeds, which I did. I'm talking about starting annual flowers from seed. Yes, I've always grown flowers like zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers from seeds direct sown in the garden, but it has been awhile since I started any flowers indoors to transplant out after the last frost.

Thank you to All-America Selections for sending me some flowers seeds to try, including Petunia 'Evening Scentsation' and Salvia 'Summer Jewel™Lavender' pictured above growing in a container on my patio. It isn't a great picture. It had just rained! Again! (Apologies to those who haven't gotten rain this summer.)

I'm going all in for starting more annual flowers indoors next spring!

Wrapping Up

I'm grateful to see these cannas in bloom! They are from roots I saved from last year. I threw them in a bag late last fall, hung them on a peg in the garage, and then earlier this spring I potted them up. I wasn't sure they were going to do much, but by golly, once I put them in their big container home, they grew up and flowered.  I'm grateful, too, because they also don't seem to be attracting Japanese beetles, so far. Maybe we are going to get off easy this summer without a bunch of Japanese beetle damage? Is that being greedy considering that I didn't see a single Brood X Cicada and they were supposed to come out by the millions this year. They did, just not here.

I feel blessed on all accounts and I hope you feel blessed by your garden and what's growing in it, too!

With a shared love of gardening,


P.S.  Don't forget, every week Dee Nash and I record and publish a new episode of our podcast, The Gardenangelists. We enjoy talking about all things gardening and think you'll enjoy listening to it!

P.S.S. My books are always for sale on my website or can be ordered wherever books are sold, including independent bookstores.  

P.S.S.S. Interested in having me speak to your group? Check out info about my talks on my website. Tell me you want me to talk about Violets, Pansies, and Violas, and I might do it for free. (At least the first time I do that talk.)
Carol J Michel Website Carol J Michel Website
May Dreams Gardens Blog May Dreams Gardens Blog

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