My birthday was last week toward the end of a long, miserable heat wave. The temperature stayed around 85-90º F (29-32º C) with no rain and no relief. For two months all I could do was shop online, water plants and drink anything with ice in it.

1. My first birthday present was a lovely little Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry from Edible Landscaping. It was expertly packed with no styrofoam. It will replace the sick Methley plum in the front yard.

Here it is unwrapped and as far out of the glare of the sun as possible.

2-4. The ice plant in a corner of the front yard has never been happy. It left a bare spot that’s crying out for flowers. For a long time, I’ve been wanting hardy geraniums to fill that spot. I ordered three Max Frei Bloody Cranesbill, noted for its tolerance of hot, humid summers.

They arrived very well packed from Park Seed, although I could’ve done without the styrofoam.

The big reveal! The flowers are supposed to be pink, but look very purple.

5. I’ve been experimenting with different birdbaths in the yard. In the middle of this heat wave I realized I needed a larger one that would hold enough water to get through a hot day and in a light color so the water inside wouldn’t heat up and boil the poor bird trying to take a bath.

This one is made of lightweight resin and holds plenty of water. It came from Backyard Chirper in a big box packed with – you guessed it – styrofoam.

Here it is “installed.” It was too hot to do anything but drop it on the ground.

6. My last, and most fun, birthday present was a solar water pump.

I wanted water movement in the birdbath, but not something I had to plug in or fuss with. This tiny solar fountain pump was the obvious answer. It came with different spouts to put on depending on how high I wanted it to spray. I dropped it in and voila! It was up and spouting.

Not one bird has come near it yet. Hopefully, they’ll get used to it soon. I read that hummingbirds find running water irresistible, but they just left on their migration so I won’t know what they think of it until next summer.

To see a garden full of colorful blooms, check out The Propagator, and don’t miss the fabulous gardens from around the world in the comment section.