Monday, August 5, 2013

A Plague on All My Gardens

It's been ridiculously soggy around here for the past few weeks. I remember the afternoon showers that we had the last time we lived in Florida, but they tended to last 15 minutes or less. This summer, we've had full days of rain. Day after day after day of rain. In fact, as I type this, it is pouring rain, the second rain event of the day. While some plants have thoroughly enjoyed the showers, many others look as if one more drop of rain will be the last insult. This makes me think of Dylan Thomas, oddly enough. I vividly recall that his biographical sketch in the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2 describes the cause of death as "an insult to the brain." I always thought that a curious expression, as if Thomas had taken one last swig of bourbon, and his brain said, "That's IT!" and that was, indeed, it. But I digress.

The only word necessary to describe the situation is fungus. I'm dealing with fungi in all shapes and forms. Most of them seem harmless enough, so long as I don't cook up some homemade mushroom soup. Others, however, are a little more destructive.

Here's a pretty set in the Secret Garden

Here's a cluster in the mint. At least it has fresh breath.

These little guys are visiting with the beans. I've seen some
dinner plate-sized cousins of theirs at a neighbor's.

This one just screams "POISON!" to me...

So I avoid the mushrooms. It's not like when I lived in Michigan and could find morels while out walking the dogs, alas. And we have other fungal issues that are causing some trouble. One of the roses has black spot, which has caused it to defoliate. The plumeria and the fig tree have rust again this year, which is causing them to defoliate. I've done just about everything I can to keep the fig tree from being attacked by the fungus. On the upside, though, I did notice that one of the apple trees had blossoms on it, and I really never expected that. 

An apple blossom (okay, two of them)!

So with the fig, I'm faced with the difficult bit of gardening, but I suspect it's a commentary on life, too. Some things work out better than we had expected. Sometimes they are what we had envisioned. And sometimes they are pretty ugly and difficult. So we celebrate the successes, we (should) celebrate what we expect, and we look at the ugly and difficult and decide what is worth our efforts and what we need to surrender. The fig tree is a bit of an irritation for me, but for now, it hasn't quite insulted me enough, and I'm not quite ready to let it go.


  1. I'm glad run-of-the-mill insults aren't fatal. An insult to the brain is sort of like calling a gunshot wound intravenous lead injection. Earlier this summer we also had incessant rain, and like you, I found some plants like daylilies thrived on it, and others, like my favorite hellebore, took it as a personal affront. I am still not certain if it is a fatal insult or not. I enjoy the way you write, even if it is totally the wrong time for apple blossoms up here.

    1. Kathy, I really should investigate Thomas's death a little further. Perhaps it is just an expression from the 50s, but it certainly leaves one with many questions! I like your metaphor. I do hope that your hellebore merely was in a huff over the rain and will recover for its winter show. As for my apple tree, honestly, I have no idea when it is supposed to blossom here in Florida. That's part of the adventure I'm on, I guess. Thanks for the kind words!