In the garden….An Arizona Monsoon Garden.

Wow, our summer was a weird one. I always write about how our garden looks terrible after a summer here in the desert but that is not the case this year…so strange. It reminds me of Monsoon seasons from decades ago when my father and I would watch the huge cells roll in over the city from the mountain area we lived on. I remember always asking him why he always called the huge clouds cells.

“Well that’s just another word for clouds” he would answer back.

After the huge lightning storms and rain would roll in and out, we would go out and explore the mountain. There were always huge pools of water and waterfalls everywhere. The newly wet desert always smelled heavenly. The water made everything smell so fresh. I would always say…

“Looks like God gave the desert a shower, it was getting pretty dirty there.”

Fast forward to 2022 and after years of dry summers, my family finally got to experience a summer from long ago with all the storms that we have been witness to here lately. Our garden is green this summer, not crunchy yellow and brown with everything dead. It was hot in those last weeks of July, with an occasional dust storm that rolled in, but no rain. Then the rain came. So far, it’s my favorite gift this summer.

Lots of swimming this summer. It helps now that the pool is covered with shade coverings. It makes a difference in the water temps. Used to be so hot when we jumped in the pool, like a sauna. Now that we have three large shade coverings over the pool, it’s nice and cool when we jump in.
Green is not a color we are used to in our summer garden. So nice to finally get some rain. Took this photo yesterday Aug 14th 2022.

Over the summer I worked on re-potting and moving pots around the garden to try and save what I could.

Before photo of some struggling cacti. I added some new cacti to the pot and will be transplanting the sickly cacti to another pot where several struggling cacti are together. Usually they do better when I do that. I believe these cacti were over watered from all the rain we got and the pot didn’t drain well. My little painted rocks also faded from the sun.

We lost our grapes this year, they were hit with a type of bug early on. My husband is still in the process of keeping the vines alive, which are years old.

They are starting to come back again but no grapes this year sadly.

I got stung by one of them Carolina bees. It was on my arm , the underside where the elbow is. I was watering the garden and one landed on me without me noticing and when I bent my elbow, the bee stung me. I believe it got stuck when I bent my arm. You know how you bend your arm, well that’s where the bee landed.

All of a sudden it felt like my right right arm was on fire. IT HURT. I have been stung by many things growing up here in Arizona, that’s just part of being a native here in this state. We have a lot of fire type insects that sting and burn when they bite. This one shocked me though. It seem to have a big punch.

I told my husband that I believe those Carolina bees we ordered have a different type of venom that I am not used to. I don’t remember bee stings hurting like this. My arm swelled, turned red, and it felt like an oven the rest of the day and the next two days afterwards.

One of our bees happy to finally have some flowers to explore again. July was pretty dry for awhile.

The stinger had come out when my husband removed it. I was just sensitive to the sting I guess. I suppose my body knows the Arizona insect stings and I don’t react to them anymore. Of course this is not how it works, just my crazy imaginative explanations.

I wonder if this means I am ready to move to Carolina now. Still haven’t decided if we are moving or where that would be, but we have a place to visit this Fall sometime, that’s a start. My heart will always be apart of the state I was born and raised in…I love Arizona. Took a Benadryl and passed out the rest of the day because that’s a Benadryl for you. Your eyes get heavy and you walk around the house trying to get things done saying out loud…

“Why am I so tired?”

Then your husband laughs and reminds you that you just took a Benadryl and you stop, think awhile and say…

“Oh yeah, that’s right! I need to just lay down for awhile”

You all know how it works.

By the third day the swelling went down as well as the bright redness, the burning part didn’t. I continued with the ice bag, on and off. The third day there was an intense itching, the worst I ever had and I have been bitten by ants and spiders which also cause lots of itching but nothing like this bee sting. Then a tiny rash came where the bite and swelling once were. What the heck I thought myself, what kind of a bee stung me?

“Hey, I think I got stung by a super hero bee, super warrior bee with extra venom, this wasn’t an ordinary bee”

My husband laughs and tells me it was just a bee.

Then a couple weeks pass and my husband gets bitten in the same area under his elbow in the inside area and tells me how it burns and REALLY itches.

Must be where we get stung or bitten that determines how much you react to it.

Now I developed a little bit of a fear of these bees. Poor bee, it had no choice but to sting when it got trapped when I bent my arm. Every morning when I go out to leave water for both the bees and birds, now I walk slowly around where the bees hang out, trying to protect my eyes. I fear my eyes are vulnerable to the bees right now. I can’t believe I would ever be writing this but…

“Those bees are starting to freak me out”

Maybe I will wear my husband’s bee hat…What are they called? I know it’s a bee suit, but the top part with the little garden looking hat with netting…what is that called? Anyway, I will have to get over this fear. No fun being afraid of something in my garden. And I like bees.

The week our grapes leaves were dying and falling off, this is where I leave water for the bees, where I got stung. The scene of the crime area. I’m acting like an insect detective, how funny.

Here are a few things I worked on in the garden over the summer.

The block wall was painted blue again, the green just didn’t work. This is the before photo above. You can see the differences in the plants from just a couple weeks of rain too. Look at how much the plants grew and how much greener everything is.
And here are the after photos once I finished painting the fence blue. It makes the water and the whole garden feel like a blue sky everywhere now.
I had a bunch of colorful plates that I broke up to add a mosaic art piece to the wall to break up all the blue. There was a storm coming in when I finished the mosaic design so I had to get up early the next day to grout it. Turned out I didn’t have enough grout so I will have to head to the hardware store and hopefully they will have the same color grout but I am not getting my hopes up, shortages on everything. This might be a multi-colored art piece.
I used some of the broken plates to mosaic this old wooden bench my husband’s aunt gave me.

I still need to paint the bottom and the legs.
This summer was a summer of many mosaics in the garden. This giant leaf is a leaf from one of our giant sunflower plants we had one year. I made a cement bird feeder from one of the leaves and now the wild doves eat from it early in the morning.

Here are our flowers this summer, very unusual to have flowers here in our summer garden. Think the rains tricked our garden into thinking it was Spring. Our temps weren’t that hot either…weird, really strange. This summer has not only flown by but it has been a pretty easy one too.

The bees are enjoying our late summer blooms.
Rain drops from an early morning rain storm.

My son worked on his inside plants he is trying to grow and was so happy to finally get some mushrooms growing.

And my son put up his vertical garden tubes he designed and is experimenting with for small space gardening. They have these everywhere, this is something my son wanted to try on his own.

I can’t believe we are going into Fall now. The summer flew by didn’t it. Now I’m seeing pumpkins everywhere. I’m thinking about Fall markets and beautiful leaves. Happy gardening everyone.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. To me this says to every ending comes a new beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such a beautiful way to see that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Succulents always attract me, but in general your garden looks like a lovely corner for real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. We have these cactus out in the desert where we hike called jumping cactus and they have these huge thorns. If you get tagged by one it hurts. You have to use pliers to remove them as the person removing them may get them stuck on them as well if not careful. They leave a bit of poison after you pull them out that makes things itch really bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah wow!
        I didn’t know about this thing about the thorns and I didn’t even know they were poisonous in a way that would cause itching … so I guess it’s very complicated to hold those cacti.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some cacti and plants are poisonous in a way that will make you feel kind of sick if you get pricked by them. With some cacti though, it is mostly a burning itchy reaction. Sometimes it feels like a spider bite to me as the finger that gets pricked will swell sometimes and get really tight before the swelling goes down…weird. Best to avoid getting pricked by cacti. The agave and some thorns seem to do this. If you get one of those invisible cacti thorns in you, like a little hair, then the only way to remove them that my family does is glue, school glue, tacky glue…not super glue of course or any heavy duty glues. Just cover area with some glue, let dry, then pull away. Those thorns never cause itching but are so annoying. We also have some cacti, Prickly pear, that you can eat, but you have to know how to prepare it properly so as not to eat thorns…that would be awful. You have to burn the thorns off pads. Cacti tacos are some of my families favorite to eat as well as prickly pear ice cream and jellies. So many varieties of succulents out there in the world, hard to keep up with them all.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow this is really VERY interesting! I really thank you!
        Prickly pears are also widespread in Italy but in the south and I have honestly never tasted them so far.
        But I didn’t know there were also cactus tacos!
        And above all, I did not know the glue method! Intelligent!
        Sometimes I still enjoyed removing the glue from my hands when I was in school.
        THANK YOU for all these interesting explanations!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re very welcome. I love Italy, they have beautiful gardens out there. On the island of Ischia I remember they had a lot of cacti everywhere. The cactus against the sea was always so pretty.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh nice! So you have been to Ischia? A dear friend of mine lives in Ischia and in fact she gave me a very interesting book by Bergsoe, translated by her, which talks in detail about the variety of vegetation of Ischia!
        You are absolutely right: the cacti and the sea are a wonderful combination to see!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes, it is so pretty there. It was a very long, long time ago when my husband and I were in our twenties, before we had children. There is a movie out here called the Talented Mr. Ripley. A creepy mystery/murder type movie. My sister and I went to see it at the theaters when it first came out and I was shocked when I realized it was Ischia where they shot a lot of the scenes.. They call it something else in the movie. My husband’s aunts and mother were at a spa on the island, the whole island has spas. The government (at that time, not sure if they still do this) would pay for seniors to take these little healthy seaside spa trips as part of their pension. I don’t know how it worked but I remember thinking it was such a nice thing to do. My husband and I took the trip with his mom and aunts, we paid for our part of the trip of course. I will never forget all the plants everywhere on the island and how beautiful everything was in contrast to the beautiful blue sea all around. Your friend has a beautiful island to live on.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yup! In the film the place is called Mongibello. I find it wonderful that you have recognized the places!
        Ischia is truly full of establishments for spa treatments. My aunt also went there several times.
        And it is correct that in the case of treatments prescribed by the doctor, there may be agreements with the national health service.
        My friend’s name is Laura and she also has a blog called Al tavola di Amalia. Her blog specifically tells about Ischia and many aspects related to this beautiful island.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your garden is so lovely. I feel happy, just looking at them.

    Speaking from experience: the reaction you had to that bee sting, means that you are vulnerable to having an anaphylaxis shock reaction, if that same type of bee stings you again. It would be a good idea to visit your doctor, describe the reaction you had, and ask for a prescription for an epi pen to carry with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda, even a little pot of flowers puts me in a happy mood too. We got two Epi pens a couple weeks ago from our doctor, thank you for this tip too, you are right, should always have those epi pens handy when you are a bee keeper…just to be safe. We even practice going through the steps of administrating the pen if a bad allergic reaction happens. Everyone who lives in our home that is, so if anyone has something happen now we all know what to do. Which reminds me, I should ask the kids again to go through steps. Everyone has been stung now by accident that is. My daughter and son both stepped on bees while barefoot out by the pool area. They just had a discomfort but that was it.

      Liked by 1 person

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