Monday, June 27, 2011

Finally, a moment to write...

Been busy in life, visitors from out of town, working the garden...Oh, I have to tell you...I was in the garden and one of the other gardeners drove past and then stopped..."You know..." he said out the window of his car..."I have to tell you...I love your garden."   

I was stunned.  I really didn't know what to say.  In my mind I said "You do?"  Like, how could anyone admire this? 

"I love the way you laid it out, it's nice the way it looks...with a little over there, and that on the other side..."

Still a little stunned by this unexpected adoration, I replied, "well, it's just that I do things kinda free-form." 

He insisted in looked great.  I thanked him.  Really, thou, I was stunned. 

My Henbane and White Sage seedlings all died, not sure if I mentioned that before.  But the fact that I actually got them started is still exciting.  I'll just have to do better next year, that's all.  That's the great thing about gardening, you learn from your mistakes.

The herbs that were put into the garden are doing really well.  Except for the French Lavender. It died.  Oh, and the Coriander is on it's last legs.  The Fennel is doing great.  I had only two, but I just found some today, so hopefully I'll get 4-6 more out of those young plants.  I also picked up a Citronella and a Pennyroyal, so I guess I'll have to write articles about them soon. Now that my garden actually looks like it's growing something, I will make some current photos and put them up.

The potato beetles are not as bad as I was led to believe.  A lot of people did lose their tomato plants to them at the beginning, but I got an organic bug spray and its working. 

I have not been able to purchase any plants online yet, due to money problems, but I hope to order some soon, since they will already be somewhat grown, it should be ok if I can get them in by next week. Cross your fingers.  Otherwise, I will make due with what I've got. 

The Monkshood seem to be doing well enough.  It's always interesting to see what does well and what tends to fade.  My peas are a disaster, I've never had problems with them before. Strangely, the strawberries are doing well, and usually I kill those right away. Very odd. 

Remember my motto

I got a comment recently from someone who said they had Osha growing near them.  I want to stress that they must be extremely careful when gathering this plant, as it closely remembles Hemlock, which is an extremely poisonous plant.  Experts have been mistaken, great caution should be used.  

BE CAREFUL, okay?  Otherwise good luck with that.  If you want to sell any, go to an herbalist who knows how to identify it.  I DO NOT recommend that you sell it privately due to the strong possibility that a dangerous mistake might be made. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Monkshood In My Garden!

The local nursery came through and I now have two lovely Aconitum napellus in my garden.  They are about 24" tall and have several buds already.  Can't wait to see them bloom.  They cost about $12 each.  I planted them at the outside corner of my garden,  maybe they will act as a deterrent to thieves.  I still can't believe that this highly poisonous plant is readily available in any good flower shop.  Amazing. 

Well, been busy on and off with the garden, weather permitting.  We had two nice days but mostly we are bombarded with heavy humidity, making garden work almost impossible.  The soil in this garden is extremely clay-like, when it's soaked, it acts like quicksand, sucking your feet down until it claims your shoes. 

As I have been working in the garden, I am meeting the other gardeners and getting to know them.  Most are really nice, and some will need more than a few grains of salt.  Stories of thievery abound, and just this past weekend a poor dog was found murdered, hanging from a tree with a stick down it's throat. (I hate people.)  One day I found a lot of little clumps of white fur scattered around my garden.  I figured some of the local feral cats had a fight there, but another gardener told me that the falcons make the occasional meal of the feral kittens.  I never realized that this garden would be such an adventure. 

Yesterday I discovered an adorable little toad in my garden.  It's great having them, as they eat nasty insects, snails and other pests.  In classical myth, toads were believed to be one of the animals that witches used as familiars.  I'm going to try and devise a simple little toad house to encourage the toads to hang around.  That can be made with something as simple as a broken clay flower pot, tin cans or a couple of rocks.

This is the gate that I made, lots of people at the garden are stopping by to tell me how much they like my fense and gate.  All I did was plant some tall sticks in the ground and tie some string.  I didn't think they were such a big deal.   I was just trying to put up something to deter human thieves.  I'm not even thinking about the deer yet, they won't be stopped by this fense, they can easily clear one 12' high.  I've already seen their foot prints in my garden.  They were probably checking out what I have for later.   
I planted some black tomatos, and built  cages around them out of sticks and string, I think maybe they confused the deer, since they were not touched.  Many other gardeners have had their tomatos eaten down to little nubs by the potato beetles and deer.

And this is my garden, not much to look at yet, but it's coming along.