Monday, August 06, 2007

How does the garden grow?

(I ask myself rhetorically...) Pretty well. This is one of my favorite things about having a house - having the garden space to play around with.

Here, in the back, is one of the house's original garden beds. Last year, my mom & I weeded it out & found a lot of something in it, which turned out to be gladiolas. Since then, I've been adding many other perennials to it, though I seem to trend heavily towards shades of purple. These are two of last year's additions that I'm particularly pleased with this year - a Rose of Sharon (one of my favorite garden plants) and anise - both happily flowering. The anise has been flowering for maybe a month now, and garnering lots of attention from the bees.
Not far away, I started a raised bed garden in the spring, largely due to K's desire to try growing red onions. The first photo is back in May.
And here it is this past weekend. The onions did not do well at all. The green tops died off, we dug them up & found they were about the size they started. However, the radishes & spinach did well, and the tomatoes and herbs are doing great. In this picture the tomatoes have gotten so tall that they fell over the tops of their cages (just 2 large tomato plants here - one cherry tomato & one Brandywine). Later on, I stuck in stakes & tied them up.
The garden's not getting nearly as much sun as I expected this spot would, and the reason seems to be that the walnut tree is bearing nuts this year. So many nuts, that it's weighing down the tree branches. Occassionally, they fall, but our neighbor says when they really start to fall things will get interesting. Some of those branches are at least 50 feet up in the air, which will give falling walnuts quite a punch.
The main challenge the walnut tree has presented is that there is a toxin, called juglone, in its leaves, bark & roots (I wrote about this last fall as well). While being vaguely aware of this, I nonetheless went ahead & put walnut tree leaves into my first batch of compost, then wondered whether that was a good idea. This weekend, I read a suggestion that after the compost is ready, to try it out in a pot with a tomato plant, because tomatoes are particularly susceptible to juglone. And, because the compost I bought from Agway for the raised bed garden apparently had some tomato seeds in it, I happened to have a volunteer. So, compost experiment is underway!
Last on this garden tour, is the front garden. Last year, I divided some varigated hostas that were in one huge clump at the side of the house, between the driveway & the house foundation. This year, they really took off & made an impenetrable barrier of hostas. There were things planted behind them, you just couldn't see them without standing on the stoop by the front door & looking straight down. So (with a bit of advice from the contractor who is going to put a new layer of roof on next weekend), I rearranged things up front & farmed out some of the hostas. I took 3 hosta clumps away entirely - one to the other side of the front steps, and 2 to the back yard. 3 others moved to the back of the garden, the big ferns to the middle of the garden & the little ferns that I had forgotten were even there, to the front. And I brought a few small, newer perennials in from other areas of the yard to fill out the front.
There's still this rosebush, which is a real pain - absolutely covered in small & large thorns, and very attractive to aphids & japanese beetles. The simplest way to deal with the japanese beetles is to take them off the plant & kill them, but with the thorns, that can get a little painful (leads to me in the front yard grumbling, "Damn it, I'm trying to help you!") One friend at work insists I can't get rid of an old rose. What's keeping me more from yanking it out is the fact that it's so well-entrenched. It was taller than me when we moved in (last fall I cut it down drastically). It does not move when pushed. I've stuck a shovel in & met with some pretty solid tangle of roots - roots which no doubt extend under the driveway & sidewalk to the east and north.
Knitting-wise, I started a new baby blanket for my cousin Kristin's new son, Trent, and a new sock (toe up sock - the picture is from mid-week, since then I've turned the heel & am headed up, going 'til the yarn runs out).


Blogger Dearest Cupcake said...

Nice garden shots! We┬┤ll have to knit in your backyard when I return...

9:46 AM  

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