This is the time of year when the garden flowers are at their peak. From the beginning of summer, everything seems alive. But when flowers are in bloom, Nature's heart seems to beat even a little faster.
The lush green backdrop of the yard frames my beds of red Bee balm and orange and yellow Day lilies. The large, rich pink blossoms of Queen of the Prairie give off a fragrance that is indeed fit for a queen. A patch of bright blue Spiderwort smiles down upon the yellow faces of pansies.
The garden is bordered by tiny but numerous blue, white and yellow flowers of the Johnny Jump-ups. A single large Hudrangea is now covered with saucer-sized snow white heads. The Red runner beans that climb the house are blooming red-orange. Each time I walk out the door, the glorious colors take my breath away.
My morning walks are full of surprises each day, as the grassland wildflowers begin to open. White daisies and Black-eyed Susans give the tall grass a new, colorful dimension. Queen Anne's lace, Tall Bellflower and Yarrow each provide their own splash of color, and soon the lavender Bergamot will add to the flowering splendor.
In every direction I can hear the low hum of bee's wings. There is pollen to collect: Time to get down to "bees-ness." Butterflies and all kinds of other Insects are taking advantage of this fruitful time. Hummingbirds, too, are eating as much as they want.
There's more activity around the barn in the past few days. The Barn swallows have fledged, quadrupling the number of them in the air. They chit-chatter as they fly about the yard, begging to their parents to feed them. Their feathers not yet hard-pinned, the young swallows are not yet the graceful of flyers that they will become in a couple of weeks. At that time, their flying skills will help them to catch their own meals.
I'm seeing more swallows around many of the bridges crossing the River and streams here in the Kickapoo Valley. The young Cliff swallows have fledged and flutter around like leaves in a whirlwind. Under the bridge, high up on the beams, the cone-shaped mud nests now are empty. Young Bank swallows and Tree swallows too are getting their new wings. They seem to be everywhere in the air all of the sudden.
In town, the young Chimney swifts have left their nests, vacating brick chimneys in Main Street buildings. They chirp anxiously as they follow their parents through the air, waiting for an insect handout. It's funny to see four or five young swifts flying along behind one of their parents, begging for food. In no time they will be good enough flyers to catch their own insects in midair.
There are so many birds around now because there are lots of insects to eat. The insects are here because there are more flowers for them to feed on. And why are there more flowers, here in the garden? Because they were planted and taken care of by someone who wanted to enjoy the beauty and benefits that they bring!
These warm summer days are meant to be enjoyed, outdoors, and the flowers of summer add so much to the pleasure!
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