It has been my habit for the past several years of column waiting to jot down points of interest as I drive around. This past week, it has been nearly impossible to point out beautiful plantings because there are so many. Holy Hydrangeas! They are everywhere in full and glorious bloom. I’m not a slave to absolute blue. I love seeing several colors ranging from the palest pink to deep blue on one plant. Even when I load a particular planting with aluminum sulfate, it is not a sure thing. Mother Nature has a mind of her own. There is one particular shrub worth a quick shout out. It is on the left of the stairs up to the porch of the Mansion House. This is right where one can be stuck in traffic heading from State Road to the Five Corners. It’s handy to look around and appreciate at such times. Anger in traffic has never worked, so why bother.

Right next to Elio’s Vineyard Grocer a beautiful Cape Cod rambling rose covers the fence. I do not think it is a Dorothy Perkins as they are usually a lighter pink. Who knows the cultivar name?

The spirea are also crowd-pleasers at this time of year. The Little Princess has already bloomed and the Anthony Waterer, a darker pink and much larger, is at its peak. I love this shrub. If sheared after blooming it will reflower two or three times in a season. The deer ignore it. It can be cut severely in the fall or spring. It doesn’t resent transplantation. Finally, it forms a lovely hedge around a perennial bed with tall plants.

I am fond of the tall, old-fashioned orange daylilies. I love the look next to blue hydrangeas. It is soVineyard. I find the deer will pass it by on their way to the fancy (and expensive) hybrids. It is so hardy that once I tossed one into the woods upside down for a winter and it lived.

Another worthwhile daylily is hyperion. It is pale yellow, tall and extremely fragrant. It is a late bloomer so don’t look for it yet. I’ll try to remember to point one out for you in a couple of weeks.

I ate my first green bean. I didn’t make it into the house but enjoyed a handful raw in the garden. It was an early planting of haricot vert that so far is perfect with no insect damage. Our family likes to call them hairy coverts. I am also happy to be picking beets. They are troublesome to prepare but worth every minute. I toss the washed roots into a crockpot with no water to soften them enough to slip the skins. It beats turning on the oven to roast them in this heat. I’m not crazy about the flavor if they are boiled. Decent-sized beets can cost a dollar each at the market. Wow! I don’t usually look at food prices — what’s the use? That does seem a bit steep when they are so easy to grow.

Here we are — another Fourth of July. I guess we are now officially in full-on summer. With the rain recently, plants are at their finest. However, there has been a hatch of mosquitoes unlike any I’ve seen for a few years. Clothing seems to be the best protection. Long pants and shirts are in order for outdoor activities. I dislike covering my skin with insect repellent any more than necessary.

I’ve been so busy lately I have not had a spare moment to read a newspaper or keep up with news of the world.

I know that the situation remains dire in Syria, Egypt is poised to oust President Morsi, former President George W. Bush met Barack Obama in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan go hunting together.

I could not make up those last two.

Sadly, the worst news this week is the horrific deaths of the 19 young firefighters in the out-of-control wildfire raging in Arizona. I don’t know how a community can deal with such a tragedy. I can’t even imagine days on end of temperatures over 100 degrees. We need to be grateful for where we live.