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We had almost a week of dry weather which prompted many a gardener to turn on their sprinklers, but we got a reprieve on Sunday. It poured buckets in Little Rock and we had thunder and lightning too. I got over 2 inches of rain in my garden, but luckily, the power did not go off. The storms earlier in the week brought a little rain, but mainly high damaging winds. Arkansas gardens are not used to this much rain in June and the plants are responding accordingly. We are seeing record growth and blooms on many plants. Vegetable gardens are producing well, but insects and diseases are definitely on the increase.

I had time this week to work in my garden off and on a little each day. Most of my power garden tools are all electric-rechargeable. I have a blower, weed-eater, pole trimmer and lawnmower that are all on batteries that last as long as I do.

I have not typically been the one who mows the lawn (my daughter has been doing it for years), but now that I have more time, I am mowing some. My mower folds up for easy storage and has a fairly good battery which usually will last through my entire lawn. I did not know it had a variable speed.

Whoever mowed last must have been in a hurry. I only use the self-propelled action when I am going uphill, but when I did use it, I practically had to run behind it to keep up. Once I figured it out, I slowed it down, but it wasn't even on the fastest it could be on! I think if it was, the blades wouldn't have time to cut the grass it would be moving so fast!

Because of the rain, my shrubs are growing in leaps and bounds (as are the weeds). I had pruned the spring bloomers a month or more ago, but I had to prune a little more this week, and we are coming to the end of the spring bloomers pruning season. I also deadheaded many perennials and roses. Deadheading puts more energy back into the plants and keeps them blooming.

My garden makes me happy with all the color.

I did stake the lilies. They are loaded with blooms but getting a bit top-heavy. The high winds didn't help. I had pollen all over myself before I was done!

I spent time weeding too. Three native vines are causing me grief. I know the yellow passionflower Passiflora lutea

is a great host plant for some butterflies, but it is trying to overtake some azaleas. I pulled 10 feet or more of the vines out of one plant. Virginia creeper

and poison ivy

are also aggressive and seemingly everywhere in my yard this year.

The vegetable garden is doing ok. I did pull the final kale as caterpillars are finishing it off.

We have eaten a lot of kale, so I guess sharing some with the bugs is not bad. My okra that I planted in the garlic bed is coming up nicely. I harvested the few potatoes I planted which opened up some more space. I did have 5 pumpkin/gourds that came up in my front flower bed from fall decorations last year.

I hated to move them, but I need to be able to see my flowers. They wilted horribly the first day,

but I think they have all survived and are off to see another day. I am sure the rains helped revive them even more. The key to transplanting when plants are actively growing is to keep them moist until their roots can re-establish.

I got all plants fertilized and things are looking good. I am getting the hang of this retirement gig! Tuesday I am off on another adventure with two friends--the Dakotas may never be the same again! I only have three states left that I haven't visited, so I am going to be able to cross South and North Dakota off the list. Maine is last.

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