Every Memorial Day weekend, my grandfather would change the winter glass storm doors for screen doors, bring the window screens up from the cellar, and remove the dark cover from the glider on the front porch. It was the signal for summer.
Nasturtium flowers are edible with a kind of peppery taste, and contain high amounts of vitamin C. We use them in salads from time to time.
By contrast, I remember the flowers of my western Pennsylvania childhood as simpler: violets, daisies, profusions of dandelions considered weeds, the purple flowers I never knew the name of because they too were "weeds," flower beds of gladiolas and roses.
In my childhood backyard and the adjoining field there were lots of bumble bees to watch and be wary of, and wasps and hornets were regular residents around the outside of the house. Lots of butterflies, large and patterned, all summer. Our neighborhood lore included the difference between Monarchs and butterflies that looked just like them. My favorites were the patterned butterflies in shades of blue.
We've made things as bird friendly as possible here. I have a makeshift birdbath on an old picnic table and have watched birds splashing in it, though its been dry lately. I needed to find a smaller dish I can refill every day without drought guilt.
But the birds who visit us mostly chirp--songs are rare. There were a lot more songbirds in the east, particularly where I lived in Pittsburgh. There were also cardinals and goldfinches we don't have here at all. (On the other hand, I can watch hawks circling above the community forest almost any day.) In spring however we do get species of bird visitors we may never see the rest of the summer, or rarely. And in April on the HSU campus I saw a pair of stellar jays--large jays, blue feathers--and heard what sounded like a macaw, or some bird call I remembered only from movies set in jungles or swamps. That was weird.