Things have been quiet at Poppy Corners, at least in the garden. The kids are super busy with end-of-school-year projects and events, in my first grade classroom we're counting down the days to the last day of school, and even Tom can breathe a sigh of relief as the college gears down for summer, when all the administrators can finally get some work done. We've had band concerts and musicals and special rite of passage projects and auditions for the opera and exciting, hectic times. The neighborhood pool opened, which means a daily swim wedged in there somewhere, and the house smells of sunscreen and chlorine.

But in the garden, it's been quiet. The days are warming up and lengthening, the trees are in full leaf, we're getting at least a few strawberries and blueberries every day now. The peaches are getting big and should be starting to ripen mid-June, I can't wait until my first peach smoothie. We're getting carrots every few days and the last of the spring peas.

The potatoes I was worried about are overflowing their cage - the shoots and leaves are strong, huge, and growing a lot every day. The asparagus has put out more spears and has 'fronded' - is that a word? - it's all big and ferny. The sweet potato slips are growing, putting up leaves. The herb spiral looks great, and I'm harvesting herbs from that frequently. I've found I really like sorrel mixed in with my daily greens in my morning frittata.

But there's lots of questionable things going on in the new raised beds, and I fear we may not have much of a crop this first year. The manure has helped. But several vegetables still look sickly and are not growing properly. I planted more corn in the bed which had the lettuces and cilantro. I figure if the lettuces finally take off (doubtful now it's getting hot), and the corn actually grows, they can hang out together for a little while. The pumpkins I planted have germinated and look pretty good, and the pole beans which were supposed to grow on corn are taking over said corn, so I'll have to figure out a trellising system for those.

The cherry and slicing tomatoes are going gangbusters, but the paste tomatoes are in the new beds look very sad, and my dreams of canning lots of tomato paste are fading.

In the flower garden, sunflowers are growing up up up. I'm hoping some summer seeds of cosmos will germinate for the bees. In fact I need to plant a bunch of summer flowers for the bees, as their forage opportunities are definitely coming to an end. We opened the hive yesterday, and everything looks good - but the rate at which they are building new comb has definitely slowed, and we didn't even add another bar. They are making lots of bee babies but not a lot of honey. I didn't expect to harvest any honey this year for our own use, but I am concerned that they won't have enough even for themselves through winter. I look at my neighborhood with a different eye - what will bloom in the months ahead? Right now the bees are collecting from my catalpa tree, and any leftover spring poppies, lupines, wisterias. In June, there are two Chinese Tallow trees nearby which always attract lots of bees. In July, the sunflowers might sustain them. But what happens in August? And the driest, most arid months in Fall? I have to plant now to have forage for them, then. And I have to plant a lot. Masses of the same few flowers. So I've been researching late summer/early fall bloomers, that are loved by honeybees, and trying to figure out how to pay for a huge quantity of them.

Some branch trimming is to be done by me today in the back garden. Our apple tree is being quite shaded out by our flannel bush (which is much larger than the apple tree), so I need to cut back the flannel bush, now it's done blooming. But it's called flannel bush for a reason - the leaves are covered with tiny fine hairs which come off when bushed against - and it itches like crazy. I have to do it right before we go jump in the pool, or I'll go crazy with itching. Guess I'll be trimming branches in my swimming suit!