Thursday, July 5, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

When I lived in Vermont (1975 to 1995), everyone we knew grew flowers and vegetables.  The customary pleasantry when seeing a friend was, "How does your garden grow?"  Mine is either in heat shock or in rampant growth, depending on what the plant is.  Some of the hydrangeas have scorched leaves, and one of the river birches is on intensive care.

I'm taking refuge indoors today.  The morning started out near 80 degrees, with enough humidity to make the sweat begin to pour off my head despite my good Tilley hat, and that was not yet 7 am!  So, whether I deserve a day off from weeding, edging, and mulching, I'm taking one.

Kathy's car park garden, so called because it lines the big area where we back out of our two-car garage, has been a thing of beauty and wonder.  Last summer we drowned the six tomato plants we put in the back yard.  This year Kathy put them in the new car park garden.  It's an Italianate planting area, which suits her heritage.  To look at the area, you might think it's a "HomeDepot-ate" area, because the plain blocks from which the wall is built can be bought just about anywhere.  Yet they remind me of building materials that enchanted me on my two visits to Italy, and so I think of this area as our Italian villa, on the shore of "Lago Segretto" (Hidden Lake).

There's our patch of Roma tomatoes.  I took the picture on Monday morning.  Today, Thursday, they are fist-sized.  Two feet to the right is our Basil grove.

The plants look twice as lush today.  We've already cut them back once almost to nothing to make our first batch of pesto (15 bags of two servings each).  On Monday we'll harvest the leaves again for another batch.

Kathy used those simple blocks to make raised beds in the back yard.

We had a pallet of blocks delivered and dropped in the central bed last week.  Then our helper from next door placed the blocks on the brick foundation layer Kathy had measured out.  We're ready now to order a topsoil and compost mix to put into the beds.  They are not very deep, but we think they will suit the purpose.  We built them because in a normal year, that's a wet area that can't be worked or tilled until it's too late to plant a garden.

In keeping with the Italian theme, I grow the daylily "Bella Sera" down there.  The strange springtime weather this year shocked some plants into bizarre behavior.  Bella Sera started to grow in March, and then all the foliage turned brown and it looked dead.  I decided to do nothing and see if it was just regrouping.  Sure enough, in the end of June it started to put up a fresh set of leaves.  It won't bloom this year, but it will recharge itself with sunlight.  I have several other daylilies that experienced the same shock, disappeared, and are growing new foliage now.

Most of our collection of about 800 daylily cultivars put together some kind of bloom for us.  Here is Karol Emmerich's "Secret of Contentment" on Monday morning, looking somewhat frosty from the blast-furnace heat we've been having.

And here is a newcomer to the collection this year, Curt Hanson's "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco."  This is probably the only time I will photograph it while looking down.  When it establishes it will produce an extradordinarilly tall scape, and I'll look straight ahead, or up a bit, to take its picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michael, it's great to listen in on your blog again! Kathy's raised beds in the downhill area look promising, and your basil forest is most impressive.