Tag Archives: Plant

Not Quite Ready

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This is the front of my garden, looking south.

Eight tomatoes are planted between the cedar posts next to the wildflower bed (right now almost entirely poppies). Each pair of tomato plants shares a gallon milk jug. Each¬† jug is pierced with pin holes¬† along the base, and is buried to its neck between the plants. Filled daily from the hose, the water seeps out of the holes at the root zone. As the tomatoes grow, I’ll weave garden twine around them and the cedar posts to keep them upright and supported.

In front of the tomatoes, each bordered with rocks, is a small herb garden and, closest, a peony bed. A squash will grow in that tire near the tomatoes.

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Now, turning to the east, the long daylily bed is in line with the peonies, and separates the vegetable garden (visible here) from the perennial fruit and vegetable beds (not visible in these photos). Each half is made up of three large beds – 4′ wide x 12′ long – running north and south, and three small beds – 3′ wide x 6′ long – running east and west.

Raspberries, asparagus and blueberries each have a large bed to themselves, and strawberries fill the three small beds on the perennial side. Two semi-dwarf cherry trees also have their own space on that side of the garden.

The vegetable garden was a challenge this year. In fact, today – the 23rd of June – I just finished putting the last of my seeds in the ground. Pole beans are in the back bed, planted around the bamboo tepees. Salad greens are planted inside the tepees, for the shade offered there. Peppers – both sweet and hot – share the next bed with one hill of cucumbers and two hills of summer squash. The next bed is potatoes and kale. The closest small bed has Swiss Chard. The other two have zucchini and another type of squash.

Though I love fresh peas from the garden, it’s much too late to start them now. They like to grow when it’s cool. Radishes, too, would be bitter and tough growing in the heat of the summer. It’s also too late to start pumpkins or winter squash here on Beaver Island; the frost would kill them before they had time to ripen.

My garden is kind of a mash-up this year. I’m happy to have it planted, though, and looking forward to watching things grow.

As you can see, there is a lot of work yet to be done. The fence is still in disrepair, and the brush needs to be hauled away. The paths between the beds need to be weeded and raked smooth. I need to clear out the back corner of all the things that have been stored there. It’s really quite a mess. Pretty embarrassing, in fact. Certainly not ready for pictures. Except…

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This little bean plant burst up through the earth and showed herself this morning, in all of her leafy splendor.

I just couldn’t resist showing her off!

I’d Like to Show Off the Garden…

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This is not my garden.

This is the front of my house, showing the snowball, serviceberry and lilac bushes, the seven sisters rose climbing the trellis, and one of my ceramic sculptures with a gazing ball on it.

I’d love to show off the garden…but it’s not ready, yet, for the photo.

Last year about this time, I showed off my garden plan. It was hand drawn on graph paper with extensive notes of what was going where.

Pretty impressive.

It never got much beyond the planning stages, though.

Oh, I cleared out a lot of weeds. I gave away daylilies, raspberries and strawberries. I put in tomato plants and planted radishes and salad greens. I even started framing in my raised beds with cedar boards.

Then, as fast as that, summer was underway, with all the flurry of activity that comes with it.

The strawberries continued to send out runners. The raspberries spread into the paths by way of their strong roots. The sod persisted in moving in from the fields to the south and east, and from the lawn to the north. My pathways were becoming so dense with unwanted growth, I couldn’t even get a shovel through!

An hour a day was not enough to make any headway, yet that was all the time I had to give it.

Though I harvested rhubarb and berries, greens and tomatoes, mostly I was just frustrated with my garden.

When friends came over for a tour in July, I was embarrassed by the lack of order. “A work in progress,” my guests offered, and I kept that thought for the rest of the season.

Snow was a relief, when it came, as it marked an end to the battle.

This year, a fresh start.

This year, new battles.

Spring was uncommonly cold and windy through the month of May.

Everything that had a toe-hold last year settled in even more seriously.

The man I hired to take out three wild cherry trees dropped the last one right through the garden fence, over the rhubarb patch and onto the raspberries. I don’t know if he’s ever coming back. The tree he dropped in the front yard had prevented me from mowing lawn the last time I had an opportunity to do that.

Mosquitoes were threatening to carry us away!

This weekend, with two days off, I faced what seemed like an insurmountable challenge.

Though I usually double-dig my beds employing only shovel, wheelbarrow, hoe and a lot of stamina, I had some help this year. My cousin, Bob, brought his rototiller over yesterday! He earned my undying gratitude by turning that overgrown garden patch under for me.

It seems like something I may be able to manage now!

I still have lots yet to do, but that bit of help was just the boost that I needed.

I’m not yet ready to show the end results, but in the last two days, I’ve got quite a list of accomplishments:

  • Moved more than three dozen logs out of my front yard
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Trimmed around the trees and stonework
  • Divided and replanted chives, lemon balm and sage, and bordered the herb garden with rocks
  • Transplanted four peonies into their new bed, and bordered it with rocks
  • Transplanted two dozen daylilies from the fence line to the central bed I’d prepared for them
  • Raked the newly tilled garden area and hauled away two wheelbarrows full of roots and weeds
  • Weeded the iris bed
  • Dug strawberries for a container garden and to give away

I have tomato and pepper plants still in their pots, ready to be planted very soon. It’s late – but not too late here on Beaver Island – for the things I start from seed.

I may have a photo to show before long!

Meanwhile, I could use a rest!

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Weeds

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I like flowers that have a little wildness in them.

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I’ve tried roses before, that promise cabbage-like, perfect blooms in shades of apricot or cream. I’ve fought the many things that challenge these dainty beauties, from soil that is too sweet, to rust, to aphids. For my efforts, I’ve sometimes ended up with one perfect flower. Too beautiful, even, to leave outside in the elements, it must be cut and brought inside, displayed in the good vase, in a location of special honor. Company should be invited over then, on pretense of a meal, so that the flower can be admired. Every day, change the water and trim the stem, to prolong the bloom time. When it is finally done, collect the petals and dry them, to be saved for some later, unknown – but special – purpose…

Then comes winter. Though ringed with dry leaves and shrouded in an inverted, rigid foam bucket designed just for this purpose, these beautiful hybrids rarely survive. But…

Below the graft is “peasant stock”…a hardy root of something closer to a wild rose that, if left, will come up healthy and worry-free with common blooms by the dozens in pinks or red or yellow. Butterflies abound, but other insects don’t seem interested. It will stand the heat of summer and the freezing temperatures of winter. It will grow into a loose shrub or a climbing vine. This is my kind of rose!

It’s the same throughout my garden.

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I go for the tiny species tulips, grape hyacinth, and common iris. I love the poppies, day-lilies and hollyhocks. I have waves of the wild daisies just now giving way to the wild brown-eyed susans. Wild roses and blackberry canes lean into my yard, and just beyond, the course milkweed perfumes the air with the most delicious scent.

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Specimen plants may be fine for others, but I enjoy my weeds.