after making another grilled cheese and ham sandwich for lunch, i went to the community garden in the early afternoon to check on my plants. there were a few other gardeners there, and where i'm currently located it seems like i'm surrounded by other people, a lot less private than my old plot (34) next to the fence and the mulberry tree. one of the gardeners with a plot directly south of mine next to the hose said to me, "i think we're neighbors." i've seen her - beth - around my street but i was never quite sure if it was her. another gardener overheard our conversation and laughed, saying what a coincidence to be both street neighbors and garden neighbors as well. beth was finishing up on assembling a small raised bed for her tomatoes. she'd only been in that plot for 3 years, so a fairly new gardener. i noticed she had a small trellis which she fashioned from a small recycled metal bed spring. she told me it was part of a small crib she found, and pointed out the wooden frames which she used as a fence to prevent her neighbor's raspberries from encroaching on her area.

i noticed beth had a few of my delphiniums, which were pointed out to her from fellow gardener helen. actually, many other gardeners have my delphiniums, which they admired from afar last summer and then scavenged the new seedlings after i was forced out of my plot. i sort of wish i was the only one, because it took me a while to raise them from seeds, and a few seasons of nurturing them before they really flowered. those were my signature plants! now they're common. anyway, after watering my plants, i had to stake a few tomatoes with sticks i found around the garden because their spindly stem was too weak to fully support the entire plant. afterwards i walked home, where i bumped into beth again on our street. she jokingly said that had she known i was coming back, she could've given me a ride - about 500 yards.

karen was invited by paula and uri to go shopping so she left in the afternoon, first to visit michael's in porter square before taking the subway (she bought a weekly pass) to copley square.

i love looking outside my living room window. i like to imagine it as a sort of command center, where i can view all the going-ons around my neighborhood. the only thing that's always bothered me though is whenever it rains, the windows get coated with raindrops, which makes it hard to see (and more importantly, harder to photograph). i toyed with the idea of coating the windows with rain-x water repellent, and discovered that people actually do this - not to keep water from beading on the windows (which is my main purpose), but rather to prevent dirt films from collecting on the windows.

i tried it on just one window, the one facing northeast. it helps that my windows can fold out for easy cleaning. i cleaned it first with windex, then applied a coat of rain-x. rain-x goes on a little cloudy but after several passes with a paper towel (in a circular miyagi wax-on-wax-off motion), it was crystal clear. later i discovered that you're actually supposed to leave the cloudy film and let it dry before applying a second coat. so i ended up reapplying rain-x, left it to dry, then reapplied again. while that was going on, i was so impressed with how clean the window was that i cleaned the northwest window as well.

my mother was treating me grandmother to dinner at victoria's seafood restaurant (at the confluence of brighton-allston-brookline-boston). i rode the motorcycle to belmont around 3pm so we could all leave together later. i made a quick stop at the gas station to fill my tank (first time this season).

i took garden photos yesterday but only with my phone. today i brought my dSLR for better photos. the thing i really wanted to shoot were the new columbine flowers. these were originally raised from seeds back in 2015. they didn't flower the first year, they were so delicate that the fact they would even survive into a second season was already a miracle. but i should've known better with these cold hardy perennials. though they took some work to germinate (seeds needed to be cold stratified), once established, they did okay. they flowered the following year in 2016, but that spring i was in chongqing, so i only saw the flowers when i returned in early june.

columbines come in a myriad of colors. the ones that i have - or at least the ones that survived this season - are of a pale variety, either light purple or pink. they look like alien flowers, with their tails that end in tiny orbs, like a shooting star or an ocean jellyfish. the flowers last a long time too, at least a few weeks.

elsewhere in the garden:

i also love the lupines. the ones behind the garage are doing the best. there are also lupines on the western side of the house, but those are tiny compared to the lupine "bushes" behind the garage. perhaps they do better in partial shade, which describes the perennial bed behind the garage. the perennial bed on the western side of the house is the hottest because it gets all that afternoon sun.

i finally transplanted the dozen balloonflower seedlings from the seed starter container into individual pots. i didn't have any potting soil but i had something even better which was composted manure. now that the plants are in individual pots, i don't have to worry about them drowning in the seed starter container. supposedly they bloom in mid to late summer, so if i can coax these seedlings to grow a bit in the coming months, maybe i can expect to see some flowers (although the online literature says they don't flower in the first season).

we left for victoria's at 5pm for a 5:30pm reservation. my sister was going to my aunt's house to pick up my grandmother. that whole area around victoria's has changed much. the EMS is gone, and the shop next to victoria is all boarded up like it's been condemned. ongoing construction on commonwealth avenue also means there's no parking in front of the restaurant. fortunately there was a bunch of free (sunday) metered parking on gardner street. when we went inside the restaurant it was nearly empty, a farcry from visits in years past when it was always crowded. for a split second i thought about suggesting someplace else to eat, because it looked like the restaurant was on the verge of collapse.

that however was not the case. we were just there early, before the dinner crowd started to show up. it was also a weird time, memorial day weekend, with a lot of students having already left the city. as we waited for my grandmother to show up, people started coming in. by the time we left, it was fairly busy.

we ordered the 6 person set meal (kind of a secret, as it's entirely written in chinese on the menu) which we thought was just 5 dishes but actually it was 7 (the peppered beef and fish flakes were surprising additions). my grandmother wanted some noodles, my sister insisted on her fish maw soup. the rice was free (as it should be in all asian restaurants). it was still a good bargain, which each dish averaging $13 a plate, and with the twin lobster itself at $30. my favorites were the soup (had 3 bowls) and the fried porkchops. my sister left home to check up on her dog, my father took the rest of us home, first dropping off my aunt and grandmother.

back at home, karen returned later in the evening with a bag of uniqlo goodies. she said she went to michael's earlier, but took some photos for her sister so she could figure out what she wanted.