Hear me. I cannot see myself becoming an expert gardener. I laughed off the completely ridiculous notion of Master Gardener. However, I will try, try, try again. I also vow to expand my garden interests, experiment with different varieties and learn, learn, learn. This year, one of the newcomers is the pink bumble bee tomato from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. My mom says the unripe cherry tomato looks like a watermelon. My mom is correct. A teeny, tiny, little, cute-as-can-be watermelon. One of the “we’ll just see what happens” ideas I had this year was to allow vegetables and flowers to hangout in the same garden. So far, so good. I have several hard-working, there-each-morning worker bees, pollinating this and that. Finally. It took time for the bees to show up, but I am thankful they are here. // Julie Johnson

Molly and Chet. photograph TARA HATHCOCK

PAWTNERS IN CRIME by Tara Hathcock Molly and Chet loved family walks. Even in old age, as Chet lost eyesight and Molly lost patience, they were always up for a walk. Perish the thought of strapping on your sneakers and slamming out the door without heading for the woods. Lucky is the family whose dog loves them more than life; we were blessed with two. No matter that Molly was grumpy and short-tempered, chasing Chet and snarling at his happy-go-lucky ways, or that Chet never met a tree he couldn’t bowl over, they were two old peas in a pod and they raised us well.

photograph + words JULIE JOHNSON

I have not been successful in identifying this insect. The flower, on the other hand, is a strawberry blonde calendula. Seeds were purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Flowers are mixed in with both the flower garden and vegetable garden. Bees like them, but so do green worms. The plants do not seem to do well in super hot weather. Or, it could just be my plants.