Our home in Brown County, Indiana sits on 30 acres of pure Indiana woodland perfection. The land and vegetation are in constant perpetual motion. An ever changing laboratory of natural, indigenous biology. Even the smallest waterhole is brimming with magnificent diversity. Every weekend a new flower variety blooms. And every night a new frog croaking symphony entertains.
Dogs can sense it all I think. A fish flops in the distant pond and their ears perk up. Daisy and Joey, our King Charles Cavaliers, have their own nature radar. A kind of animal radar, instinct, or heightened sense. Pacing back and forth with their noses to the ground and tails up high, they know that many animal party crashers have been here on their turf since last weekend. Marking the perimeter of their doggy territory is the only thing that matters when we first arrive. Me, I have groceries to unload and gardens to tend. The dog’s work is complete and they indicate nap time.
The gardens growing around our vacation home must survive a great deal of stress from their environment. Lack of water and tending makes the gardens demand a certain kind of plant material. Rough and resilient Ajuga planted around the base of a purple Bee Balm works. Or, Thyme and oregano grow well here because of the rocky soil. I love using the fresh thyme with chicken on the grill. I also have excellent luck with Oak Leaf Hydrangeas. I adore using these in beautiful centerpieces for summer dinner parties on the old wood table arranged in a large copper bucket.
One of the great puzzles of my Brown County garden has always been, why don’t the deer eat my Hostas? I have lots of Hosta and not one of them has ever been eaten! However, last month around midnight, I had my answer. A large pack of Coyotes was howling on the hillside. No need for ‘DeerOff’ spray here, nature has provided her own restraint.
An afternoon hike up the drive to the big barn I spot a snake sunning on the side of the road and a soft shell turtle in the pond. Dappled sunlight over the Blackberries highlights that they are still green and not ready for picking.
The big field is full of milkweed plants awaiting the Monarch Butterflies to arrive from their JOURNEY NORTH. Milkweed blooms always make me laugh, they remind me of some pink earrings my grandmother wore. You know the ones, the round jewel encrusted grandmotherly kind.
The heat rises and drives us out of the sun and into the shade. Steaks on the grill await, as an Indiana Brown County day meanders on.