I feel like it’s been too long since I did a garden post. The spring of two jobs and two gardens morphed into the summer of two jobs and two gardens plus assorted side projects and road trips, with the occasional looking after of neighbor’s gardens for three gardens and assorted responsibilities. I have moments where I strongly suspect I may have bitten off more than I can chew, followed by moments of uber frustration with nature but then I have those little moments of zen that make it all worth while.
It’s the end of July and I must say, the entire yard looks downright tropical after a good rain. I love to wander the yard when the light is just right and capture things like gnats and tiny spiders in sunbeams. I’ve started printing some out, kicking around the idea of having at least some of my macro bug and flower shots printed – maybe even on canvases to hang around the house.
We continue to be completely fascinated by the begonia blooming on the front porch that I had gotten a clipping of from Leni – so much so that I took clippings of all of Granny’s begonias at the lake, because we just might be becoming begonia enthusiasts.
I recently ran down to the other garden spot, where as I put my hand upon the garden gate, was stung by a bee I didn’t even see. I had a mildly alarming reaction of my hand swelling and stiffening up for 24 hours but then it seemed to dissipate. The day after that, I went back down to check on the garden and was promptly bitten on the OTHER hand by ANOTHER bee I didn’t see, while discovering the deer had discovered our garden and helped themselves to my pole bean plants, while smaller creatures had clearly been helping themselves to my tomatoes. Slightly disgruntled, I came home and parked next to the home garden, where I noticed similar small creatures had helped themselves to tomatoes there and the deer – that have lived in Brian’s back yard a good few years now, probably close to a decade and had previously skipped through the yard without nibbling – had taken out my cucumber vines. Frustrated, I stormed in the house and declared I was giving up gardening, going so far as to send my garden partner Virginia an email with the subject line, F@%$ Nature.
I can report that upon her next trip to the garden, Virginia noticed yellow jackets coming out of a hole in our garden gate – apparently they are nesting there. So my next visit, I sprayed for them and managed to pick a handful of beans and some squash. I’ve also gotten a few tomatoes, although the big ones I pick before they are fully ripe just so I get them. I may not completely give up on gardening, but after picking up yet another case of poison ivy this summer, I definitely am aware that nature has the upper hand, despite the number of volunteer plants I seem to have in my garden this year (among them a cherry tomato plant under the compost bin and a malabar spinach plant, which is the most surprising considering that the ones I planted last year did NOTHING because it never got hot enough!)
In other garden news, the rudbeckia four pack I bought two summers ago because it was labeled “Becky Mix” (I mean, really, how could I not?) has totally taken off and is threatening to take over the back yard. I can see it from the back door, which infinitely pleases me.
The tall yellow coneflowers I got from Mollie a few years ago, also staging a takeover of the yard, are starting to open up. I’ve had much fun heading out to snap a few shots every night for the last week or so, capturing the progress. Also, those suckers are tall! At least some of them are close to 8 feet in height!
Speaking of volunteer plants taking over, all of last summer’s mystery melons left on the door step have turned into this summer’s mystery melon plants in the garden thanks to the compost. I’ve decided to let most of them go – I have at least two different varieties out there, with a good number of baby melons hiding under the vine. The critters seem content to leave them, which also makes me quite happy. Those will be the melon rinds I pickle this summer, as they are smugly local and organic and you really can’t do better than that. Of course, Pat has some issues with the fact that I’ve let the vines take over not just the garden, but the entire yard, but I suppose I’ll think of some argument where I accuse of him hating local food and guilt him into accepting them for at least a few more weeks. If nothing else, I’ll throw a little fit about my various beefs with nature and how that vine is the happiest vine of all and can’t we just let it be as it makes me happy?
That definitely sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?