I go out into my back yard now every morning to check out my sunflowers, sweet peas, and hollyhocks. I have mature sunflowers which are dropping their pollen. My hollyhocks have tons of buds on them and they are opening up new ones. They are over 8' tall now. My sweet peas, however, are on their last legs. We've had too many days of near-triple digit temperatures and they simply cannot take that kind of heat. I did have a nice crop of them, however, this year. I could often just go out back and smell them from afar. I have enjoyed them this year.
I find it restful to just wander around out back. I listen to the birds. I watch the hummingbirds come and go. There is one female who seems to live year round in our yard and a couple of males. I have sparrows, finches, and verdin. The verdin seem to LOVE the pollen on the sunflowers and I catch them every afternoon poking around them. I am glad to provide both food and shelter for the birds.
But it is my hollyhocks that truly amaze me. I had a dismal crop of 3 of them last year. Those 3 survived our brutal summer and I planted more seeds last fall. Their cheerfulness, their gorgeous colors, and their tenacity delight me. I often just wander out back with my camera in hand and marvel at them.
Here are some recent photos I took: