Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Optimism of Gardeners

It seems a given that in whatever year or whatever location I have gardened there are disappointments.
Our first crop of green beans succummbed to some sort of beetle--and to the spell of dry hot weather just as the beans "set."  I'm miffed--because green beans are historically one of the foods I like to put up in quantity.
However, the second planting of beans looks to fare better--in spite of nameless creatures who are nibbling the tips of the plants.
I picked this mess of beans today, enough for two meals.
And--I'm going to sow another row or two for a fall crop.  If it will but rain, I think there's just time for another bean harvest.

The muskmelons have outdone themselves--all in a rush.
We have them for breakfast, we lug in more, the refridgerator holds a shelf full.
J. bought started plants enough for two hills, I put in seed for several more.
In the heat of July they have become a single harvest. The earliest ones were only a week ahead of those "from seed."

The zinnias don't mind heat and drought. I sowed several varieties which are blossoming in a mad jumble of color.

I found this clump of asclepias [butterfly weed] growing along the horse pasture fence. I've seen a brilliant yellow "sport" growing here and there on the roadsides.
Butterflies aren't a cooperative subject--darting and fluttering.  Its catch them as you can.

It often seems I don't accomplish much in a day. For a gardener or a nature lover there is always some eye-catching bird, beetle or flower which must be captured with the camera. 
Then we get out the bird book or the battered wildflower guide and poof--another hour has gone.

A candy-striped zinnia.
The sunflowers continue to lure bees, bugs and butterflies even as their petals show wear and tear.

Who would think of going outside without "speaking" to a dear old horse!
Pebbles has always shown a busy-body interest in our doings around the dooryard.
She plods along the fence line or eyes us from the shade by the barn, always hoping for a hand-out.
This small lizard was taking its ease in an empty cat litter pan which I put out to "air" on the sunny side of the garage.
J. has seen several scuttling off when he enters the garage or the lean-to shed.


  1. I think most years and gardeners have their failures, your musk melons look lovely, pity they've all come at once.Pity I'm not near enough to help you to eat them too! That striped zinnia is so pretty, maybe that's what Pebbles was admioring?:)

  2. Those melons look wonderful ...maybe you could invent a Jelly/jam with them too lol.
    Love the photos of the Zinnia ..especially the candy stripe one.xx

  3. Your photos sum up an idyllic rural lifestyle.

  4. Sorry to read your green bean harvest wasn't what you wanted. Your musk melons look wonderful.

    Love your flowers, and the butterfly pictures.

    Pebbles looks like a lovable character.


  5. My beans (runner and French) are only just setting their first pods, but we will soon have plenty to eat and freeze. I love your stripley zinnia, and Pebbles keeping an eye on you to make sure she's not forgotten either! You have plenty of butterflies - after two very wet summers, ours are few and far between.

  6. I have such a hard time keeping plants alive, that I am afraid to garden. But, one day I will plant one! That candy-striped zinnia is just beautiful!

  7. I remember my grandmother down in Albany used to grow muskmelon and we had it for breakfast, lunch and supper on summer visits along with sliced tomatoes. Her canned butter beans are one of my treasured memories. I've been reading your blog for a while now and have to admit that since you've moved to Kentucky there's an added note of nostalgia.

  8. Good morning! It's so nice to have a moment to read your blog. Your beans look and crisp! I have an aversion to muskmelons now, having grown them in a borrowed garden in New Haven where they did far too well, all ripening at once, and i kept eating them, not wanting any to go to waste, even after they started getting overripe and developing that memorably-bad acetone-like flavor.