After six weeks of unrelenting heat and scorching sun, the lawn is as good as dead but the garden is vegetable heaven. Pole beans — especially the purple-streaked rattlesnakes — are my favorite crop so far this season. The trellised vines are lush and pretty and produce handfuls of beans every day. We’ve picked half a dozen fat, pickling cucumbers (first two pounds are now hot and sweet refrigerator pickles) and scores of tiny sungold, red plum, and black cherry tomatoes.  The cilantro has gone to seed, which will yield a full jar of coriander once it’s dried and toasted.

Rattlesnake pole beans

Clockwise from top left: Opalka tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, coriander seeds, bell pepper

July sees our perennial flowers at their best, too.

Rudbeckia, coneflower, coreopsis, and lobelia