Just in case you didn't know...I am getting married in October! I had the big idea that I was going to grow all the flowers for the wedding. That lasted about a month. First, I grew dozens of green and white zinnias and sunflowers from seed in starting pots all over the back porch. I also ordered a dozen or so dahlia bulbs, clematis and hydrangea starts from the fantastic Songsparrow company. I got excited, planted them all too early, and half of them froze and became a rotten mess. Oh, wait! Did I mention the clay soil?? It wasn't just a mix of clay, it was solid- throw it down on a wheel and make a pot- kind of heavy, heavy clay. I dug out a large deep rectangle, which appeared was going to be my own grave, to plant my cutting garden. I couldn't turn my head or bend the next day. After a few months of dedicated watering, my work started to pay off and the flowers began to flourish. The very next hour, a plague of biblical proportions rained down and began eating their way through my fledgling wedding crop. Everyday proved a battle between me and the Japanese Beetle. Nothing. No traps, sprays, nor my Uncle Ivan's never-fail Hungarian Pest-Rid Potion of garlic, soap and cayenne pepper curbed their insatiable appetites. The only thing to do was start grabbing them by the handfuls and pitch them into a bucket of soapy water. I must have murdered over a thousand in the last two months. Thankfully, I have noticed drastically fewer beetles over the past two weeks. So, what's left of my flowers? I'm able to produce a sweet little vase like this every week and I have enough to share with my neighbors! Now, if only some would last until October... Anyway. I now have much greater respect and empathy for farmers and gardeners, including my parents. I never had much interest in all the hot, hard work they were doing out there in the garden all summer long, but I sure did love to pick the flowers. (Sorry Dad!) Now I'm addicted. When I wake up in the morning I can't wait to get out there and see what's happened overnight. Today it was my first morning glory bloom!