Monday, September 25, 2006

Years ago, when my garden was new, my children were babies and I truly had no money for plants , I felt really lucky to find a type of ligustrum (privet) popping up along my fence line. Fast forward 25 years and I'm not feeling so lucky. I spend several weekends a year cutting back and thinning these rampant growers to keep them out of the overhead phone and electric wires as well as keeping the shade to an acceptable level. I do like the way they look, the way they make the child's bench corner feel cozy and the general feeling of enclosure and privacy but sometimes I wish I had not been blessed with the variety that yearns to be 20 feet tall. For many years I was good about cutting them back severely each fall but as I came to know and enjoy the bird life in my yard I began to hesitate to remove their place of refuge. I have removed some of them over time as they were too crowded but after yesterday I am considering further removal. Did you ever have one of those garden days...nice weather, a few hours to get a job done and one by one things go from bad to worse? I am attempting to change my system... with the intent to cycle the plants yearly...some cut back severely, some just topped. I would have less work each year and the birds would have a place to hang out during winter storms. After a couple of hours of cutting and hauling branches to the street I decided to do one more big branch and leave the rest for next weekend. I have a fairly new really useful Fiskars polepruner which I find really managable. I guess I should say I had a nice polepruner. In the midst of sawing this branch the pruner got caught as the branch began to fall and the saw and blade attachments both snapped off. So now I had a branch hanging 6 feet off the ground connected to the polepruner handle by the cable that is still stretched between the blade and the handle... and the handle is wedged between branches of the privet. Once I realised the pruner was a complete loss I tried to cut the cable with my old, dull pruner. They sure make those cables strong! So I walked to the other side to try again to dislodge the handle and managed to step in the dog poop my dog was nice enough to place there in the midst of my sawing. Ok...try to keep calm and just get the job taken care of...let's check if I can see better from here...what was that? Now I've snapped off the sprinkler connection my dad put in for my soaker hose. Lucky for me, at this point my husband came out to see what in the world I was doing. He knows I love to play in the yard and that I'm a solitary garden type but he also knows that on occasion he needs to save me from myself. So between the two of us we got the pruner out (I recommend hitting it hard with the old pruner...uses up some of the emotions one feels at a moment like this) and he proceeded to haul the remaining branches to the curb...and even reminded me to take my shoes off before I went inside. Now I need to many more years can I do this? And what would I plant in their place? And is it safe to try to finish the job next weekend?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Time For Onions, Fennel and Beets!

Having recently used up last year's onions I was motivated to get some in the ground earlier this year...and there I was getting a nursery fix (sometimes I just need to be at a nursery even though I know it is a bad idea to imagine I have an empty spot to plant anything) and what should I see, but onion starts. Since I knew I wanted California Red that was easy. But there were also sweet yellow and Bermuda White...neither of which I've ever tried. So I came home with way too many onions for my garden size. I managed to get them planted in what will remain a sunny spot...not all of my veggie garden is sunny through the winter. And since I was tucking things in I planted green onions, fennel and chioggia beet seeds. I am also trying cippollini onions from seed...they should mature before the weather gets too cold. I am of the belief that if you saute a few onions you are halfway to a good meal...they smell so good!! Having done this earlier this week I was feeling pretty good about the garden and then yesterday I had a few minutes to spare and made the mistake of pulling in at the nursery again. Leeks! I love leeks...sauteed or in potato soup...and they are so pretty. Unfortunately, they were in a six pack with twenty or more in each today I bit the bullet and took out all the tomatoes except the cherries as well as one of the eggplants. The tomatoes had slowed way down and were getting that late in the summer look and this eggplant had stopped setting. Now I have an insane amount of well as some left over starts I need to find a home for.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Variety Is The Spice Of Gardening

I love reading garden blogs! I've tried to figure out what it is that is so addictive about them and I think I've figured out at least part of the deal. There are so many different approaches to gardening, so many different ideas about what a garden even is, so many different climates and conditions with which gardeners battle/are blessed. I find it all fascinating and, as I've said, addictive. But the main thing is the realization that we are all doing this because we want to; we enjoy the doing as much as the result. It is, as children's art should be, about the process, not the product. Oh, sure, we love the veggies and the flowers and I really enjoy relaxing in my garden with a good book and a cup of tea or glass of wine. I love being in a place I helped bring into being...a kind of place I find right for is what makes me happy and peaceful and calm. It may not be what anyone else likes or enjoys but that's OK because it is my garden! Everyone here is suffering from the same compulsion/affliction...NEEDING TO GARDEN!... but the style, the finances, the goals, the timelines all vary. Some of the jobs may not be our favorites, and I have more than once begun a project and realized I must be out of my warped mind, but the result is almost always a success even if it is not what I set out to do. Our gardens are never done and never perfect but it is the journey that we crave...where we're going and how we're traveling may vary but we're sharing the stories of our travels and I, for one, enjoy the company.