Lissa’s garden goal is to have something blooming throughout the year. It’s rather an evolutionary process – each year some experiments, with the things that survive seeding or being replanted the following year, and the things that don’t being replaced

blooming hollyhock

It’s like a big game of Sim Yard – add water here, some seeds there, then let the game run for a cycle to see what happens.

This year, the hollyhocks have proven themselves extraordinarily robust, a seemingly natural follow-on to the iris bloom that lasted through mid-May. They’re doing so well, in fact, that Lissa’s going to have me weed out quite a few of them once they’re done blooming. We haven’t planted a hollyhock in years, but they seem quite happy reseeding themselves and spreading out to find the wet spots. Now that there are places that get reliable water, they’re exploding. They seem to be hybridizing, too, with all kinds of weird color mixtures from white to a deep red with lots of pinks and purples in between.

Around the neighborhood, lots of cholla are in full bloom, but ours is just starting. The various cactus have been coming in waves, too. And in the backyard, the yarrow is doing its thing. It’s modest, a soft canopy of tiny flowers that lacks the bright and frilly colors of its more showy neighbors:

blooming yarrow

The bees and the butterflies know, though. They’re absolutely swarming over the top of the yarrow, doing some serious feasting. The flashy colors may be the best evolutionary adaptation to the human garden, but the yarrow’s got a fine state-of-nature thing going for it.