Every growing season the garden is a different story. We gardeners never know what is going to thrive or stall. This year I have Magic Fountain delphiniums that have doubled their projected size. Needless to say, they don’t fit where they are planted, much to my chagrin and the lilies that are being crowded. If I had any inkling this was going to happen I would have divided them this spring. But no. So there they loom, a formidable presence in what would otherwise be a serene setting.
While the delphiniums dominate, the verbascum “Bold Queen” which usually fills in a significant patch of garden, achieving at least 4 feet in height, has decided to be coy, maybe 18 inches. This leaves a rather awkward vacancy. Ho hum.
Another snag — we cannot conveniently access our front door. This has been creeping up on us and now hits a crescendo. We, and everyone else, are ducking under the spruce boughs and sidestepping the bleeding hearts.
What to do? Widen the boardwalk that leads to the entry and remove the bleeding heart. Who would have thought?
From the street our home now looks like a Hobbit house. The spruce trees that had everyone so worried last year with the spruce aphid infestation seem to have responded by over compensating in new growth. Lots of new growth.
Have you noticed? Look around. The trees that survived have a dandy new dress to wear to the ball.
I’m planning a garden party. I love a party. But methinks the guest of honor may not be up to snuff. The garden doesn’t seem to be bloomy enough. The mock orange are usually the stars of the show but they are holding back. It seems like everything is holding back. The iris and lilacs are done. The peonies — well, peonies are everywhere so are no longer a main attraction. They have lost their “wow” factor. What a shame. I love them to no end anyway. The lilies have been in bud forever and seem hesitant to open. There is just no telling. Gardens are somewhat of a mystery and we (I) need to go with the flow.
Even the vegetable garden is being fussy. The onions are not magnificent and I have been able to count on Copra for years to make a gorgeous onion that keeps well. The Red Wings are looking good. But the shallots are taking their time to bulb. See what I mean? Interesting. Nevertheless the broccoli, romanesque cauliflower and chard are producing enough for fresh eating and the freezer. The purple cauliflower is just as purple as ever and I plant only enough for fresh — it tends to get quite mushy when frozen.
And what happened to my diligence in fending off the sparrows from the peas? The pea fence is usually festooned with the orange plastic tubes that the daily newspaper comes in and that seems to be enough to deter the birds. But I didn’t do it until today, which is looking like too late. And we like our peas. What did I think was going to happen? A change in preference of sparrows diet? Not likely.
Here’s another doozy — I think that if a pumpkin is living outside it shouldn’t need me to fertilize the female flower. I should think all of those honey bees and whatever else would get the job done. Well, this thinking has gotten me a whole lot of nothing in the pumpkin patch since I stopped doing the insects’ job. So I have managed to catch three or four and it looks like I’ll have pumpkins this fall. We’ll see, a lot can happen between now and then.
I overheard a conversation between two ladies at The Bookstore who had just purchased their tickets to the Gardener’s Weekend. They were bemoaning the perfection of the gardens they would be seeing, measuring their own against the ideals. Well, instead of feeling inadequate (which none of you are) try to take away one good idea from each of the gardens you visit. Just one. Write it down and try to implement it next year. Remember this — your garden is from your heart. It is uniquely yours and no one else’s. You love it and that is absolutely all that matters.
Rosemary Fitzpatrick is a longtime Homer gardener. She has been writing Kachemak Gardener since 1990.