Saturday, August 29, 2009

since it's raining anyway

Unsettled weather. Moist. Again. What else is new?

It went into the high 30's here the other night so I'm already holding my breath to see how long we can last before first frost. We certainly deserve an Indian Summer but who knows? I've managed to do some freezing, canning, seed collecting, blight bagging as well as some dreaming and scheming for next years foray. I've made a tomato curry chutney inspired by Grow The Change, Calendula Lip Balm inspired by Fast Grow The Weeds, jalepeno blueberry jelly inspired by 'What to do with all these berries?'.

Truly that's the beauty of growing one's own. It's so dashedly hopefilled. Dashedly? (I also use an over-the-top fakey Cockney accent when addressing one of my neighbors who I affectionately call 'Guvna'. I think it's hilarious EVERY time. He is of old Yankee stock and remains, I believe, nonplussed.)

But back to the gardens. So much beauty, so many small dramas. The blue jays begin their annual Bacchanalia on the blueberries. They wait all year for this chance to get even louder as they tie one on. Apples on the old trees fall for the deer. And everything scrambles to go to seed. Who can not be moved?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the everlivin' gall

Several goldenrod plants were so blemished I noted on my walk today. Seems there are parasitic critters who enjoy a bit of boring and breeding, I'm thinking Gnoremoschema gallaesolidagnis. I'll inspect further tomorrow.
But hey! Good news citizens! There are some days that are so deliciously exquisite in their simple beauty. Today was such a day for me. Quiet, lovely, relatively productive but with a large helping of free time to wander and ponder and sing Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'.
What a great day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

blueberries and blight

I have yet to resort to making a castor bean stew to end all my travails!
this 'thing' is a melon, that, if it reaches maturity before first frost, will stun me!
antique blueberry/cranberry rake...don't use it on my bushes but am sometimes tempted to speed up the process.
one day picking
blighty refuse to be bagged

Yes, we've been hit with the plague and it's not pretty. I hold at least some scant hope of a bit of a harvest but the longer I wait to pull entire plants and bag them the more the spores spread, especially with the humidity we are experiencing. The tomatoes themselves are secondary to my fears of what may lurk in my soil for ever after so I research and hope the cold of winter and a less seasonally insane summer next year will take care of the problem.
How did the funk get here? Clearly my bad. I grew 90+% of my tomatoes from seed here but did buy a few heirloom varieties from small, local nurseries where I was assured the plants were grown on site. But I work in a nursery and we, along with all the others buy in ornamental plants from other states and I know that some of trucks that delivered to us also delivered to box stores so the epidemic spread like wildfire. Of course I, along with all other growers, would have loved to have known earlier but Pandora's box cannot now be closed. Argggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
I do have some tomato plants that haven't been hit because they are some distance from the main growing area. My left overs, default plants...Snort!
(Randi takes a cleansing breath).

However crappily most of my efforts have been this year there is one thing that remains carefree and abundant. The highbush blueberries here are over 30 years old and produce happily for us as well as the birds! I've been living on them for a couple weeks now and I begin to take on a slightly bluish tinge. I'll be freezing most and making some sort of jammy jelly stuff as well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

homegrown anguish

Edvard Munch eat you heart out ~ just makes you want to scream!
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's August Already!

Digitalis ferruginea has become a favorite of mine, begun a few years ago from seed. Once established they make a terrific upright stand. Group 10 or 15 plants together for impact.
Finally harvested some of the default cucumbers, actually it's been a fun experiment growing these other than reminding myself to water and fert regularly.

There are sloping perennial islands here created in areas where ledge had nudged it's nose above ground making mowing around them impossible. Planting perennials around the stone has been a great solution. The beds have grown through the years without much thought to design. Over the last couple of years I've had a bit more time to move things about and shovel prune to my hearts content. That being said my perennial beds are still packed. I have always planted tightly so I begin to seriously cut back/deadhead this time of year. If I waited any longer I'd have to be doing it into January. A few things are allowed to go to seed, some are left for the much ballyhooed 'winter interest, (which is pretty meaningless here as we have 3 ft of snow through most of the six months of winter),' and some years I am neglectful and wait until Spring. But I've learned the hard way it's best to begin clean up in a timely fashion.
Add to that a year where the plants have stretched for non existent sunshine and been beaten down daily by rainfall and the flopping has reached record proportions.
So I'm weeding/cutting back yesterday and suddenly it felt as if someone dropped something on my back. Not painful, just distinct. I keep snipping away at the daisies until I discover a nest with three eggs. I put it together and felt terrible for exposing a gaping hole in what used to be a pretty well disguised jungle. In all my years landscaping I'd never come across a nest like this. Later I come back and discover mom on her nest. I give her props for divebombing me, what instinct! I don't even want to think of the odds for survival especially with the feline population hereabouts.