Our garden is not at its absolute best right now. For one thing, it has been too hot and we have all been too lazy for much weeding, so the weeds are rampant. The strawberry plants are also rampant; the squashes died and had to be pulled out (I am sad about this, but the boys are very relieved) and the strawberries quickly spread to take over their space. Volunteer zinnias and our lovely pepper plants poke up from a sea of strawberries, which won’t fruit till next spring. The tomatoes are nice enough, but most of the fruit on them is still green, and the melons are small yet. So our garden right now is mostly producing herbs for us. But there is one plant that is still truly pulling its weight.

It is Montezuma, the great rose bush. I planted four rose bushes under the dining room window so we could enjoy the roses at meal time. Joseph’s Coat gives us a few lovely multi-colored blooms at a time. New Dawn was just planted this season and hasn’t done much yet, just a few pale pink flowers. Falstaff is stingy with blooms so far, though they are gorgeously fragrant. And then there is Montezuma. He has dozens of blossoms all the time. No scent to speak of, but there they are outside the window every day for us to enjoy.

Montezuma is inclined to have dreadful mutant-looking bits, branches that become enormously thick with giant sci-fi thorns. My husband says that it is uneven watering that does this. I don’t know. I just know that it is a scary effect. The leaves on those branches turn red, and sometimes the canes twist back on themselves. But I can forgive Montezuma this, because the roses are so wonderful through the window.

My roses are in a cottage garden arrangement, with herbs planted at their feet: lemon balm, peppermint, lemon verbena, lavender.Then come the peppers: cayenne, Purple Tiger, and a couple of special local varieties with unmemorable names. There are four tomato plants in a row perpendicular to the roses, with the annual herbs — Thai basil and cilantro — and onions next. The doomed squash were on the third side, with the melons. Now the strawberries, which had been the fourth side of the square, wash across the garden. Next year the whole annual section may be a strawberry patch.

I began the armhole decreasing on Siv yesterday while watching the rain pelt the garden. I love rain. Montezuma may just consider it uneven watering.