It is hot as Hades here in Kansas and ProfessorRoush chose to mow early today before the sun could sear my socks off my feet. Mowing always brings forth mixed feelings for me. I hate to mow, to know that I must aimlessly drive in short circles all over my landscape on a weekly basis, but at the same time, I love the neat clean appearance of the house and yard after mowing, and it gives me a chance to assess the health of the garden and it's floral population.
Take my hollyhocks, for instance. I primarily notice these as I mow, since they're right near the edge where I start in. This group, on a southeast corner of the back patio, is completely self-seeded, now several generations removed from a Alcea rosea
'Nigra' that I planted in the area over a decade back. They have reverted to a palate ranging from pinks (as pictured above) to blood reds (as illustrated below), but they're dependable bridges from the first bloom of the roses into daylily season.
Hollyhocks in Kansas need only a little disturbed soil or mulch to self-seed, and they seldom need care. Some develop a little rust from time to time, but not normally enough that I need to spray them. And those clumps pictured above withstood the EF2 tornado, or at least the 100 mph straight line winds, that came through Manhattan on June 11th, 2022. I can assure you, as I was looking out the basement window at the time, that these were bent to the ground for some time as the storm passed. The tornado actually touched down on the east side of town, damaging a few houses there, but the path of the worst storm damage to trees and electric lines seemed to go right through our house in a straight line to the area of damage. Thankfully there was no loss of life, and I, for once, didn't even lose a shingle.
I saw today, as well, that the Knautia macedonia
is out of control in my front boarder. Pretty up close, but too small and dark-red to be impactful from a distance, they are so successful here that they tend to choke out smaller plants if I don't watch and remove them. As a no-maintenance plant, however, I have no complaints regarding Knautia
Mowing also forces me towards some new vistas of my yard, making me see from angles that I wouldn't normally walk or chose to photograph. This last photograph doesn't do justice to just how deep the shades of green were across the back yard today. I don't know whether it is the i-Phone not picking up the depths of the green tones, or if it was the photographer not choosing the correct exposure, but I apologize for not helping you to live in the moment with me.
I guess you'll just have to take my word for how good this looked today. However, for those who can't, I am taking names, first-come, first-served, for those who wish to experience mowing here on the Flint Hills. Just let me know what Saturday or Sunday you want to be here between now and October. I'll be happy to accommodate you.