Frabjous Times

Outside, I mean

my mistake, dear
to ask a city teen
“Could you check in the bed for my
best hoe?”
And now we bring you the Farm Report.
With the recent rains the lettuce crop has been coming up outstandingly well, with only minor slug sign. I've picked maybe two cubic feet of the stuff so far, a mix of Black-Seeded Simpson, Red Sails, Salad Bowl, and Romaine. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to grow anything besides lettuce, since it does so well. Still, I'm hoping that later in the season our patience will be rewarded by a good take from the Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and the Better Boy tomato plants which have already tripled their size aboveground (except for one of the former which suffered a pruning mishap).
The Alpine strawberries have their fresh clean blooms coming along with the first signs of their tiny fruit.
The tubers (hostas, bearded iris) are getting overly large and are going to need some serious division this Fall.
The clematis, given up for dead after last year’s dry spell, is now close to four feet in height, spiraling its way up the ornamental support we have for it.
The columbines are looking a little sparse this year, showing only a few buds so far. Probably there was too much leaf litter around for them to reseed themselves last year reliably.
We're hoping that the peach tree which blosomed for the ifrst time this year might be developing some fruits (I don't think this is the kind of fruit tree you need two of). This tree was a freebie, growing from a discarded pit about four years back.
Two foxgloves also in that corner are looking pretty healthy and might be ready to send up flower spears soon. Yet another poisonous ornamental in this garden.
The azaleas that survived the drought from a couple years ago are just finishing up their vivid scarlet display. Some are experiencing encroachment by some tansy volunteers which have to be whacked back vigorously and often.
A week ago I did some extensive pruning of the shrubs which were choking the light from the large rhododendron in one of the front beds. This shrub is showing a little bit of growth along its base, maybe a tenth the size of what it used to be. The shrubs went crazy after I'd strewn some compost and leaf mold in their raised beds a couple of years ago, with long reaching branches stretching every which way, instead of the tight compact forms they used to have.
The Jerusalem Artichokes continue to produce shoots, even despite any significant amount of cultivation. Unfortunately some of the vigorous growth is happening on the wrong side of the stone edging where there is supposed to be a semblance of lawn. Perhaps this is a good time to get rid of the grass anyhow. The chokes are about 1.5 ft high already with the characteristic sandpapery leaf surfaces. Maybe we'll get little flowers the way we haven't been the last couple of years with these.
The war to smother the evil English Ivy around our pine tree in the front yard is going middling well. Most of the leaves right at the tree's base have been suppressed by layers of oak leaves from last Fall, but there are still lots of vines clutching at our palisade fence trying to bring it down. I hate the stuff.
No sign of the big rabbit, lately. This was first spotted back in February during one of the thaws, a large animal the size of a small cat, evidently passing through from its permanent home elsewhere. Also no sign of the duck in the neighborhood ever since it had been surprised when it was trying to build a nest in one of the leaf piles.
I was moving some mulch around and doing some weeding in the garden last weekend and happened to look at the brilliant white flowers of the viburnum. There was a tiny black sweat bee the size of an ant just resting on one bloom, not feeding but just sitting there for a few minutes.
Last modified: 21 September 2003 (corrected link)
Cleaned up markup.