Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Behind the grove looking over the north field
A couple of weeks ago, I was really frustrated about my garden at the farm. If gardening is an exact science, I am clueless. The Montmorency sour cherry tree is in distress. Nothing seems to germinate in my raised beds. The raspberry patch is on the pitiful side. I just wanted to sit down and eat worms. Gardening is a lot of work just to watch it fail. But enough of the maudlin. I mustn’t give up.

I always think of the farmyard in terms of a wonderful country garden – you know, daisies and dahlias and peonies and roses – but that just isn’t going to happen. I am a believer in environmental change. We have little summer rainfall now and weeks of high temps. So, I said to Mike, “Why don’t we just plant perennial drought-tolerants and see what happens?” He was all for it, especially on the bank at the back of the house, which is difficult to mow.

So, I went shopping for perennial water-wise plants but experienced sticker shock at the nursery. How much do I – or more to the point, how much does Mike – want to gamble on this experimental project? I decided I needed to think about it and quietly made to leave, but just then a passing shopper said, “That basket is empty.”

“Yes,” I said in apologetic tones. “I just can’t make up my mind to pay the price.”

“It’s wasted effort to plant seeds this year,” she said. “If you want a garden, you’re going to have to buy the plants.” She seemed to be an authority. I left the nursery empty-handed but feeling better about my gardening efforts. If other gardeners are struggling . . . well, misery loves company.

So, I took Mike with me to the garden department at the local mart, and we selected four potted “sun-loving” perennials for that problematic bank. Four potted zinnias in the clearance section also called to me, reminding me of that picture of Grandma Ina and Aunt Lynn in front of their beautiful garden. Yes, the zinnias looked tough, but they still had promise, and at 69 cents each, I figured I couldn’t go far wrong. Then I paid an exorbitant $3.00 per plant for two summer squash. 
When we got back to the town house with our box of plants, Mike set them in the shade under the maple tree, one of Bess’ lounging areas. When she spied that box in her place, she was taken aback. “Arrrooo! Bark! Bark! Bark, bark!” she exclaimed. Silly Bess! 
Much more to be done here

Today we're back at the farm, and I'm happy to say that my gardens are looking good. Last week was cool week with some rain -- just what transplants need. I picked a pint of strawberries today and the plants are blooming again. Mike and I put new fencing around the apple tree and removed the fencing from the pie cherry tree, and I watered. I found a smallish rattlesnake at the front steps this afternoon. KW 


Chris said...

Plants *have* gotten so expensive! We have two big pots in front of our house every summer and even with overwintering them in the sunroom, we always need to buy some annuals to fill in each year. I couldn't believe how much our little boxful cost! But I do love the color when I take the time to stand back and look. I just took the garbage can out and admired as I walked back to the house. Pretty yards are a joy. (Please, please do not look at our back yard!)

Kathy said...

"Pretty yards are a joy." I was just messaging with daughter Hallie about vintage yards. I feel another yard post coming on. Sometimes the muse is busy!

I just always think twice about the cost of the plants because they might die -- and often do, especially when I order them. I try to buy locally, but that limits the variety. As you point out, though, the plants do much to beautify our homes, and that's good.

Chris said...

If it wasn't for Dan, our plants wouldn't stand a chance. However, having said that, I do water the pots in the front and on the deck, but I think it's just because I am reminded to when I see those bright flowers waving at me. He's the one who plants and remembers to bring them in in the fall, clips them back, and fertilizes them. I guess they're just smaller, more colorful "trees" to him.