It looks small and scrappy so far, but the summer backyard flower garden is under way.

It got a late start this year, what with weather and plowing delays, but by late May I had marigold plants in, and seeds planted for zinnias, cosmos, calendula, and ragged robins (which most people seem to know as bachelor’s buttons or cornflowers). And I also planted the usual Burpee “Sunflower Forest,” as well as some tomatoes and peppers.

Alas, for the second straight year the forest came up very spottily, and had to be replanted. I don’t blame Burpee—I’m doing something wrong, perhaps planting the seeds too deep. Or maybe it was too early or too dry. To demonstrate my faith in Burpee, I bought a packet of its monster 12-foot sunflowers at Tractor Supply, and planted them in the bare spots. That worked just fine last year, and no doubt will this.

I’ve gotten out and hoed weeds. This week the rains came, so everything got a thorough soaking. The rows still look a little spotty, but that will all change. And I know that in a few weeks I’ll have a riot of backyard color.

I can’t do much about politics or violence, but I can plant a garden.