A Walk in the Garden

Hi Friends!

We are oh-so happy that July has arrived in the Midwest with bright, sunny skies!

We really need a little sunshine!

Our weather in June made the record books. It was our cloudiest June in 122 years and the fourth wettest June in Illinois history. Last month our area had eight inches of rainfall (twice the average June rainfall) and some areas south of Chicagoland had fifteen inches of rain. Roads flooded and rivers overflowed their banks. One terrible night, nine devastating tornadoes ripped through rural communities south of Chicago. What a month!

It’s time to look on the bright side of life…

Our gardens here are lush and flourishing!


Let’s take a quick walk through the backyard garden today.

Step through the arbor

Bright, orange daylilies welcome friends, as we step through the arbor into the garden.

Clematis blooms fill the arbor

Colorful Clematis blossoms fill the arbor, twisting and climbing all the way over the top.

The flagstone path has been a special part of this garden since the 1920s. It leads to an old stone grill  and patio, built by the original homeowners.

The flagstone path has been a special part of this garden since the early 1920s. It leads to an old stone grill and patio, built by the original homeowners. Some day I will tell you the whole story! But we can’t linger today…


The path leads to our Herb and Tea Garden. It is the Heart of My Garden, built with so much love! Culinary herbs fill one raised bed, Mints and sages, just perfect for making herbal tea, fill another raised bed. Next time, we will pick our favorites to make tea.  But we mustn’t linger today…

A weathered birdhouse

A weathered birdhouse welcomes our feathered friends to the Herb Garden, too.


Our backyard is a sea of orange and yellow in late June. The daylilies bloom just in time for Father’s Day each year. Yellow Stella d’Oro daylilies add color to the Friendship Garden for many weeks.  Asiatic lilies show off their blossoms in the Cutting Garden.


Pink Lacecap Hydrangeas and white Annabelle Hydrangeas put on a dramatic show with their large blossoms. Delicate blossoms add color and interest nearby.

I really wish that we could spend more time enjoying the garden together today.

However, along with the flourishing blossoms,

the mosquitoes are flourishing, too!

They are biting like piranhas and are really attracted to me.

News reports warn that Chicagoland will have the second largest mosquito population

in the United States this summer.

(Only Atlanta is predicted to have more mosquitoes than us.)

This week, as new broods of mosquitoes hatch, they are chasing me from the garden.

In midday, I wear long sleeves, long jeans, a hat, and garden gloves,

but still get bitten, and my face is covered with bites.

The brief moments that I take off my garden gloves to take photos,

my hands are covered with bites.

In addition to the discomfort, the bites can be dangerous.

Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus and Chikungunya, a newer mosquito-borne virus.

It’s important to empty the standing water

from birdbaths and bee baths in the garden.

A green approach to keeping mosquitoes away includes planting

Citronella, Marigolds, Lavender, and Catnip.

The Basil and Lemon Balm in our Herb Garden are said to repel insects, too.

I’m afraid that insect repellent

will be a necessary item on our shopping list.


I still dream of lingering in the garden on summer afternoons.

Yet this is becoming a very challenging gardening season!

Hope you can share some helpful ideas with us…

Sunny hugs!

♡ Dawn

24 thoughts on “A Walk in the Garden

  1. Good morning SUNSHINE! Greetings from Minnesota, where the weather has been PERFECT! No humidity so far, it hasn’t been over 80, and our garden is lush as can be. Your sweet garden is happy, I can see! Enjoy a good old fashioned Midwest Fourth of July! Anita

    • Good Morning, Anita! So glad you are back home in Minnesota to celebrate the 4th of July! Your garden must be full of color. I’m sure you have been taking lots of photos! Enjoy happy summer days, sweet friend! Thanks for stopping to visit today. ♡

  2. The garden looks wonderful – how hard it must be not to linger! We have gnats and Mosquitos galore. I invested it in a hat with repellant infused. I try the natural repellents like swamp gator but when they are really bad I go for the Deet. Shower after garden chores are over!

    • Hi, Jayne! I knew you would have helpful suggestions from your garden in Savannah! I’ll have to check into your special gardening hat. Unfortunately, I think Deet will be the only way. It was so hard to just look at the garden through the windows yesterday. I must enjoy our beautiful July days in the garden! Thanks so much for sharing all of the great tips, Jayne! ♡

  3. Oh, Dawn, I share with you the itching and stinging mosquitoes bring. I’ve tried B-1/thiamine, which only upset my tummy. Only a strong repellent works for me – and even then, yesterday, a rather rude mosquito actually bit me in my behind! The nerve! “(

    Your garden is glorious! I always feel as if I’ve been in it; so welcome and full of all of my favorites it is and it reminds me of Tasha Tudor’s garden. I’m quite curious about your flagstone path.

    Enjoy this July 4th weekend.

    • Oh, Penny! We also share a love Tasha Tudor and her amazing gardens! Your sweet words warm my heart. It’s easier to avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, but midday we really want need to be playing in our gardens. Hope we can plan a real garden visit soon! Wouldn’t that be fun? ♡

    • Oh, thank you, Jodi! I dream of learning to watercolor the flowers in my garden, too. It would be so lovely to practice painting in plein air amongst the blossoms! Do you have a lot of mosquitoes on (oops!) in Mars, PA this summer? Have a great holiday weekend, Jodi! ♡

      • Haven’t really noticed them too much yet, but watch since I said that they’ll probably appear out of nowhere😩

      • The same thing happened here, Jodi! They all hatched overnight. Predictions of a 4th of July emergence of mosquitoes were right on target. Hope it will be a little better in your area! ♡

  4. Hi Dawn,
    Your garden looks lovely and the extra rain, while it’s appealing to the mosquitoes, is lush and green and inviting. I liked your suggestions for naturally repelling the pesky insects with lavender and catnip. I had not read of that before and will pass it on to my kids in Austin, who have had a wet spring and are inundated with mosquitoes.
    If only there was a way for the rain to divert its route to include a stop in Southern California! 🙂
    Enjoy your 4th of July.

    • Good Morning, Karen! I truly wish we could divert much of our rain to California, especially during the terrible fire season this year. I’m sure everyone in Austin would agree! While the gardens in the Midwest have grown lush and colorful, the abundance of mosquitoes is a bit trying. It’s only the first week of their hatch, but I think I will need a strong repellent to share time in the garden with the mosquitoes! Have a great holiday weekend, Karen! ♡

  5. Dawn, your gardens are so very lovely! As regards the mosquitoes, when I had a Girl Scout troop and we would go on hikes, the girls would tie a clothes dryer sheet in a buttonhole and this would deter the pesky little biters (mosquitoes, not girls). Give it a whirl! Happy summer days to you!

    • It’s so wonderful to hear from you, Jo! Huge hugs for the great tip. I will definitely try it today!! So glad that we can keep in touch this way, Jo! Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend! ♡

  6. Hi Dawn! What beautiful peeks into your gorgeous backyard gardens! I love the flagstone path! Everything is so pretty! I’ll bet you were beginning to think you lived in Seattle with all that cloudy, rainy weather! Sure makes everything green, though, doesn’t it! Blessings on your 4th of July celebration! xo

    • Hi, Karen! I’ve been thinking of you and all of your busy plans. Hope you are having lots of fun times this summer, too. Perhaps you have some good mosquito survival tips from your long walks in the Wisconsin woods? The lush, green foliage and colorful blossoms are thriving as a result of our June rainfall. Our 4th of July weekend looks sunny and warm. So happy! Sending warm hugs, my friend! ♡

  7. Dear Dawn, What a gorgeous garden you have! It must be heartbreaking not being able to enjoy it! My husband is one that gets bitten by mosquitoes also–NO FUN!! We have found if he puts SKIN SO SOFT by Avon on his skin they don’t bother him!!! Give it a try!!! It’s oily and has a slight fragrance that seems to annoy the mosquito–Just apply it to all exposed skin.
    We’ve had tons of rain also–9 inches in June and more expected. I wish we could send some to dry California! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens, dear one. ♥

    • You are so sweet, Martha Ellen!! We are just the opposite, when we take walks together the mosquitoes don’t bother my husband. They always find me! Thanks for reminding me about Skin So Soft. I’ve heard that for years, but haven’t tried it. I feel silly to be concerned about the mosquitoes from all of our rain… when friends in California are suffering from a four-year drought. So grateful for all of the helpful suggestions today! I’ll try anything to be enjoying my beloved garden again! Big hugs! ♡

  8. Wow Dawn, what a gorgeous garden you have. Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about your mosquitoes. They are so irritating. I read somewhere, they have found that it has to do with your DNA. They’re attracted to those people (like me) more so than others. Ugggg

    Thank you for this amazing tour.


    • Thanks so much, Gert! I’m really happy that you stopped to visit today! It’s so curious that when my husband and I take a walk, the mosquitoes always bite me. I’m going to try out some new ideas to keep the mosquitoes away. Visitors have shared lots of helpful ideas today in their comments. I’m so grateful! Come visit again soon, Gert! Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend! ♡

  9. Loved walking through your garden but as you said couldn’t linger for the mosquitoes. Luckily haven’t had that problem here despite the rain. By the way, deer got in to my garden last night. I heard something when I got up to use the bathroom at 11 o’clock. Startled the deer and heard them go but maybe they didn’t go far because they lots of plants got munched including the pots of heucheras. Today I sprayed liquid fence. I hope that keeps them out. Aggravation.

    • Oh no, Marcia! I was just admiring your beautiful potted heucheras! I can’t even imagine the trouble that hungry deer can cause in the garden. I hope liquid fence will discourage any future late night visits from the hungry deer. I know how frustrating it is when our hungry groundhogs start munching on my plants. Deer would be so much more destructive in the garden. Fingers crossed that all of the hungry visitors move on to another part of town! Thanks for stopping to visit today, Marcia! ♡

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