Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ombrophilous Patio Plants and a Humid Hike

Yet more dreary weekend weather spluttered on my window when I woke Friday morning. It's getting very tiresome with nearly every day issuing torrents of rain either in short thunderous bursts or in long deluges. Either way, it's making for some extremely humid conditions and ensuring that my free time is not suitable for any hiking, biking or kayaking.
But on the bright side, because of course there is always a plus to every situation, the countryside is thriving; thick lush green, almost tropical, vegetation is growing abundantly, and in particular, my little patio is looking very pretty.
 My 'sunflowers'. I should have read the label properly before purchasing these as they've only grown about 3ft high before flowering, but they are very pretty and doing well.
 Kota trying not to move in the thick heat, but he does insist on being outside when I am.
 All my lovely organic plants from DeBaggio's are doing wonderfully, the annuals, the herbs and tomatoes. I adore this hot pepper plant and will get a couple next year. These beautiful purple seed pods will turn to yellow to orange to red before they're ready, but what a colorful display.
 For some reason my tomatoes like to grow horizontally. This vine outgrew it's wire conical support and is now resting on the back of a chair. I've had a handful of tomatoes daily for over a week and it's still flowering. My other grape tomato vine is doing equally well despite an attack of blight because of this perpetually damp weather and constant rain.
 I'm decorating the branches by the back door with string of some old beads I've had lying around for ever.
 My two basil plants are going strong and I'm eating them almost daily too. Even the cilantro is still thick, and I've managed to stop it flowering so far.
 4 large peppers growing on this little plant and another 2 smaller ones. I've never had this amount of luck with my veggie plants before, they've all been so healthy with no sign of disease on their leaves. The slugs have been an issue but I've been using an organic pesticide on those so I'm winning in that war. Those of you that live in NOVA should really visit DeBaggio's next year. They're only open for 4 months of the year but well worth the visit. Their website is here, and sign up for the catalog to be mailed to you next year, a wealth of information.
Even though the day was not looking promising I decided to go for a short hike at Bear's Den. When I arrived at the parking lot there were a few cars, obviously folks were as determined as me to get outdoors. I'd forgotten how rocky the climb up was to the top but I jumped across boulders and tried to jog for some of the way up. I was puffed when I reached toe top but the view was worth the climb, albeit a little misty.
I sat down for a few minutes enjoying the peace when a small group of young adults arrived and started fooling around noisily. One of them must have tried to discreetly quieten the group down because suddenly a shrill voice ripped through the air, "I can do what I like, Tiffany!', a female voice shrieked. It was horrendous and I shuddered, feeling sorry for Tiffany who must also have convulsed at that raucous rant. I got up and left them, heading for a narrow path off the main trail and hoping they wouldn't follow.
It led me to the Appalachian Trail rest house where I enjoyed a few minutes scoffing mulberries and wine berries which were abundant around the lawn edge.
I loved the log seat, and it was quite comfy.
I carried along the trail, realizing that I couldn't hear traffic any longer, so hoping I wasn't hiking too far off the regular path.
I had an enjoyable saunter through the woods, spotting a lot of mushrooms and toadstools, and loving the little spinning leaf in the video above. I also noticed though that there were deep holes in the sides of the track, looking very much like someone had been removing small boulders for some reason. Somebody had also been making a point of kicking any of the toadstools that had been growing at the edge of the trail. I didn't like these signs of violation and hoped it wasn't something that was seen on a regular basis.
I heard pattering on the leaves above and stopped to pack my camera away, the inevitable rain was falling. It came down heavier and I was relieved when I found the main trail again. The rocks were getting slippery so I was careful in my descent. I didn't pass anyone else on the walk back except a young father coming onto the mountain. Obviously the weather wasn't going to put him and his 2 young sons off. They scurried ahead while Dad sauntered behind them holding an umbrella aloft. I almost envied them having the damp trail to themselves and hoped they wouldn't bump into Tiffany and her crew!

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