Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The garden is holding up well despite the high temperatures. I have been adding water to the garden box reservoirs every evening. The boxes with the different squash plants are usually dry, while most of the others boxes will have at least some water left in their reservoirs. In the boxes with tomato plants, the roots have grown down into the water reservoir itself which looks kind of strange but does not seem to hurt the plants at all.
I still don't have any ripe tomatoes, but there are sure a lot of nice looking green ones. It won't be long now.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thank goodness for the garden boxes. I do not miss being out under the hot sun pulling weeds. I do have to fill the water reservoirs in each box every day, even when it rains. The plants have grown large and thirsty. The garden hose is already stretched out to the garden and ready to go making this chore a fairly easy one. Next year, however, I will leave more space between the boxes. As usual, I underestimated how big everything will grow and it can be a bit challenging to pull the hose between the boxes without crushing a vine or leaf. Problems like this I can live with.
One chore that hasn't gone away this year is trapping the Japanese Beetles. I hate how these "June Bugs," as we used to call them, show up in late June and early July and proceed to defoliate our Rose of Sharon shrubs and whatever else meets their fancy. Some people say you shouldn't use the traps because they only attract the beetles to your yard. I disagree. For one thing, I don't set out the traps until the bugs have already arrived. Setting out the lures and trapping the beetles in bags is much safer for the bees and beneficial insects in the yard than spraying poison. Also, by trapping these beetles, thousands more offspring are prevented.
Another indication that it is mid-July is that the raspberries are nearly finished for the season. I didn't get too many picked this year, but did manage to get enough to make a good pie. Now it is time for the blueberries--my favorite. I have only one shrub at home which now yields enough for my morning oatmeal two or three days a week. I hope to add more blueberries next spring. For now, I will pick them at one of the local farms.
The flowers continue to bloom and brighten the yard. I hope you will enjoy these photos.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Today I saw a toad near the garden, and also a young praying mantis, both natural forms of pest control, and both welcome in our yard. We have always been fortunate to have a steady supply of mantids around the house. We even have pictures from when the girls were small of them posing with mantids on their shirts or heads. There really is something very fascinating about mantids, and while they are deadly to other insects, they are gentle to people, never biting or stinging. Once, a few years ago, I was walking through some tall grass and disturbed a group of mantids. I was surprised as they started rising up and flying through the air on both sides of me. As they rose above the ground, they were nearly vertical and with their large fluttering wings they reminded me of the tiny fairies I've seen illustrated in storybooks. I had to wonder if it was an experience like this that inspired someone to write the first fairy stories years ago.
I also recently came across a garter snake while weeding the flower garden. It startled me, but only because it was in a hurry to get away from me and into the shade of the crabapple tree. I genuinely hate snakes, but Nick reminded me that they, too, are a natural form of pest control. Well, OK, but it had better leave my toads alone.
Our dog Toby would like to be a natural form of pest control, if only I would let him. I have rescued more than one baby rabbit from his jaws and scolded him in the process. Now I realize, sadly, that this has been a misguided effort. Only this week a group of rogue rabbits ate my new yellow rose bush down to a stump. I have heard friends complain of rabbits gnawing on their rose bushes, but we have never had this happen with our other roses. It seems I need to learn to let Toby do his job, and try to look the other way.
Here's hoping you, too, are enjoying a week of sunshine and gentle gardening, free of pests and worry.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
These funky chickens were a Christmas gift this past year. Talk about personality! I just love them! They are made of metal and have stakes at the bottom of their feet so they don't topple over. I gave them a few coats of polyurethane before setting them out so that they won't rust.
I also love these cast iron frogs. I have a set of three and they reside in the large flower bed which I (now improperly) refer to as the wildflower garden. From time to time I move them around and it has become a game for observers to try and find them all. Here are two of the frogs. I couldn't seem to find the third as I was taking the pictures...
The "grow" ornament adds some height to the gardens which is nice. I also like this do-dah because it is unobtrusive and subtle. It also serves as a sort of silent prayer. Unfortunately, it also works for the weeds!
I'll share more of my favorite do-dahs in a future post.