Monday, May 26, 2014

At Last

Every season has its peak, a few magical days when everything in the garden is working in harmony. Two weeks ago, just as we put the house on the market, the ornamental gardens luckily reached their zenith. Every plant was in bloom at the same time and looking glorious, and I will be forever grateful to them for that. I like to think they were what sold the house--well, them and the kitchen. I'm pretty sure that this week is the high point for the productive garden because everything's coming up vegetables.

Baby squash 'Tatuma' nestled in thyme and flower bedecked

For the first time in my gardening life in Florida, I have finally gotten my bean yields high enough to start putting them up for winter. The three varieties I planted are all producing at the same time now, though the 'Tiger's Eye' and 'Contender' are a little behind 'Kentucky Wonder.' Turfman and I conducted a very scientific taste test, and he declared 'Tiger's Eye' and 'Kentucky Wonder' to be the best. I couldn't taste much of a difference.

'Contender,' the lone 'Tiger's Eye,' and 'Kentucky Wonder'

I'm watching all of my peppers with much anticipation. Every time I see the Greek Pepperoncini peppers, my mouth waters at the thought of them adorning my salads. My great hope is that I can get enough of every variety to have a canned jar of each to take with us to our new home.


Cherry Bell Peppers

JalapeƱos coming on

I also have tomatoes and cucumbers and corn getting ready, and the four pineapples are coming along nicely. With this much success in the garden, I've been greedily turning my eyes to the fig tree, checking the fruit every morning and hoping that they will ripen before we move. I simply want one jar of fig preserves. Just one. But in case that doesn't happen, I did take a cutting of the fig tree, and it's already sprouted. Now if we could just find a home for it in Georgia...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Sense of Proportion

If you are coming to today's post hoping to read about an individual who has learned self-control and exhibits that trait at every turn, I can assure you that you will be heartily disappointed. From the moment I learned that we might be relocating, I thought about my garden and what I might attempt to bring along with me to the new house. Initially, I was quite proud of myself. After all, I could dig up the boxwoods, but I decided to show some restraint and just take cuttings in the hopes that I could raise new plants. I took 18 cuttings. This may seem like a lot to anyone who has not tried cuttings before, but the possibility of failure is rather high, so it's always good to cut more than you think you'll need.

Boxwoods in waiting

I had been watching these cuttings, desperately hoping that they would all take, and then I suddenly started imagining a knot garden. This made me think I should take more cuttings. I haven't done it yet, but considering how little restraint I've been showing in the rest of the garden, I can't imagine it's too far down the road. 

I suggested to Turfman that I would only dig up about 10 plants and that there would be no holes in the garden. I've been able to achieve the latter part of that suggestion but not the former. I've only covered the front yard so far, and I'm already over 12. I'm beginning to worry a bit.  

Plants in hiding

As I said, there are no signs that any plants have been lifted, but just to be sure I don't raise anyone's ire, I've been keeping them in a neighbor's backyard. Happily, I have visitation rights, so I go over every day to water and encourage them.

It's all moving so quickly, and soon I'll either run out of pots or car space. But at least I'll have some of the best parts of the garden here join me at our new house, which will go a long way in making that house feel like home.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

"That is not what I meant at all;
that is not it, at all."
-T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

In 1971, fully fed up with playing James Bond, Sean Connery said that he would never play 007 again. In 1985, Connery returned to the role in the aptly titled film "Never Say Never Again."

I vividly recall my frequent protestations that, after so many moves up and down I-75, Orlando would become our final home. After we had almost completed a massive renovation of our latest house, one of my sisters-in-law walked into every room exclaiming that we would make so much money if we moved.  I told her that wasn't something we were remotely concerned about. "We will never move again," I said. "This is it, the final resting place."

I am now starring in my own, self-made version of "Never Say Never Again." I'm eating my words. Fine. I won't delay the announcement any longer, keep you in suspense. 

We are moving back to Atlanta. 

I am over the moon about returning to the place I consider my home. I am less excited about leaving my garden behind. In my best daydreams, I imagine the eventual buyers of this house saying that they love the house and hate the garden and wish it could all disappear. Then would begin what I would refer to as "The Big Dig." I imagine a U-Haul stuffed to the roof with plants. I've been saving plastic nursery pots for just such a possibility, but I must be patient and see how it all turns out.

In the meantime, I essentially will be the assuming the role of "Acting Gardener" here, tending to it with as much affection as always, but recognizing that I am ultimately doing it for someone else. Still,  I'm walking around with a bit of a proprietorial eye, considering which plants I can take with me without seeming a thief. The next few weeks (and potentially months) should get pretty interesting, so stay tuned.  

In the meantime, here's a photographic recap of what has unfurled in the garden during the last week. 

Gloriosa superbum in full glory (she's going with me)

Clematis 'Jackmanii' (who must stay, sadly)

The side garden plants are jostling for attention

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nothing Major to Report

I have a weekly phone conversation with my dad in which I secretly fret that I really have nothing of importance to report about the week that has passed or the week that is to come. What can I possibly say of value? What will keep him entertained on the other end of the line?

To be perfectly honest, those who know me well know that I likely could relate some story about a mishap that has occurred during the week. I'm notoriously accident-prone. As I type this, I'm still suffering while using the tip of my left index finger, which I nearly clipped off with my secateurs (you know, hand pruners) two weeks ago. The injury came at the end of 30 minutes of sharpening and lovingly cleaning this, my most necessary garden tool. For whatever reason, I thought I would ensure that no rough spots remained on the blade after my sharpening and cleaning efforts by rapidly squeezing the secateurs closed and listening for any grinding of metal. I can't tell you how the tip of my finger got in the way. I do have a vivid recollection of what happened once I realized that I had nearly severed the pad from the rest of my finger, but I shall spare you the details.

I could tell these stories to my dad, sure. But even those kinds of things, when they're a regular part of my existence, become a little mundane. And so it is with the garden this week.

I have, at present, no plant diseases to report. No bugs. No fungi attacking. No breathtaking buds or blooms. No incredible triumphs. No construction projects.

I just have a happy garden. And though the relative quiet of my garden could seem a little boring in the way of news, the simple fact that I'm not in the midst of some crisis or rapturous unfurling is strange and welcome news for me.

So I shall quietly leave you with a few photos of the past week and a wish that you all have a week with nothing major to report.

Carrot harvest

Hiding among the green beans

Future fig