Or perhaps they’ll take over and it’ll be the reign of snails.

We had the first real rain in what must be five weeks (probably more) last night, so today I was all excited to see how full the rain barrels got. Not that much, as it turned out – less than one. And the water was filthy with several weeks’ worth of accumulated muck and dust from the roof and eavestroughs. But there were aquatic snails in the rainbarrel and I have no idea how they got there.

Now, my rainbarrels have lids with a wire mesh centre, and the water pours through the mesh to filter out twigs, leaves, shingle gravel, dead bugs, and other debris, so the horribly hot dry weather notwithstanding, the snails couldn’t have washed in. The closest tub pond is half the garden away. All I can think of is maybe back when the weather was rainy (oh sweet memory), some snail eggs got carried up to the roof on some bird’s foot, got washed in, and somehow grew to maturity in the muck at the bottom of the barrel.

Anyway, I rehoused the snails into the tub ponds, so hopefully they’ll be happier there and help keep down the algae. And hopefully I don’t get some horrible disease such as schistosomiasis from letting aquatic snails crawl over my hand. (I know, I know…)

In other news, I lifted the crown of the two conifers at the front of the house. Whatever idiot planted them thirty years ago did so only about four feet apart, and about that far from the driveway, so they were crowding each other out and leaning over the driveway. One of them was not very healthy, and I thought I’d have to get rid of both. And I hated the idea, because I really like having them – not only do they provide the only shade I have at the front, they also screen the view of the front porch from the road.

As it turned out, simply removing the bottom branches (crown lifting) solved all the problems, and I got to keep my two old friends. It was like eating my cake and having it too. It also cleared a lot of space around the bases of the trees, so it opened up a potential new planting area.

I managed to borrow a small woodchipper from a friend, so all the prunings that I can’t use as-is (branches to make stakes, for example) are slowly getting chipped down so I also have my own mulch. The garden is a valuable resource, folks – use it well.

The summer bulbs are coming into their own now – the ‘Black Star’ calla lilies (Zantedeschia cv.) that were a gift really are dark, so I’m happy with them. The ‘Verrone’s Obsidian’ dahlias are budding and I can’t wait to see what they look like. A lot of the freesias are only just sprouting, and the begonia is taking its sweet time, as are the ‘Black Walnut’ gladioli, but the hardy marsh gladiolus (Gladiolus palustris) that I got last year has flowered and done already.

The elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis) are finally open. The seriously dry weather meant the inflorescences are small and many have dropped, so it’s time to start collecting them for wine. The peas are finally coming in, and I think the last of the June-bearing strawberries are about done. Unfortunately, the horrible little cucumber beetles are back and the lemon cucumbers are already showing signs of wilt.

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