Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Swiftly Passing Days

I seem to spend a good deal of time in the garden--or in the house recovering from gardening--and yet, the garden work is never done.
Along with the flowers, the potato plants are growing apace, the corn and green beans have emerged at last, and  we've had fresh kale and chard
Strawberries have been made into several strawberry shortcakes.
I've been pricking out seedlings and transplanting them into bigger pots, all lined along the front porch.

I've been perplexed by a strange wilt or blight that has attacked some plants.  I've lost a lavender, had to prune back the purple sage.  In the upper flower strip one clump of Michaelmas daisies has developed a sad wilting patch in the middle, same for the penstemon.  I've no clue as to the nature of the culprit.
Weeds are also burgeoning faster than I can make the rounds to grub them out.
On Tuesday morning, walking around the yard and garden, looking at the things needing to be done, I felt daunted, unequal to the upkeep, but unwilling to turn my back and let the gardens take care of themselves.
That heavy sense of frustrated inadequacy stayed with me for a few hours, as I puttered at various tasks indoors and out.
As usual, after a bit of feeling 'down' I come to terms with the fact that I can only do so much, and after all, the weather and the variances it brings are quite beyond me.
I can't solve the quandry of the small peaches falling off the trees [why are they doing that?] nor can I banish every bug and blight that threatens.
[I am determined to erradicate the small colony of ants which has invaded my kitchen!]
I can only plod along, doing the best I can and enjoying those fruits and flowers which sturdily flourish.

The boy cats are determined to furnish me with the results of their hunting.
I've had to dispose of a poor dead chipmunk and several birds, brought to me with life extinguished.
Jim and I have also snatched several young birds from the jaws of certain death.
These young cats are very well fed.  There is no need for them to catch their own food--they are simply being cats.
Tonight J and I along with our daughter, her husband and our grandson were poking about the dooryard at nearly sundown, trailed by Willis and the boy cats.
Suddenly there was a thrashing, fluttering ruckus at the north west corner of the house. A mother bird, a wren perhaps, burst from the hydrangeas, shrieking in fury and fright.  Tiny fledglings scattered across the grass while several more of them dithered about on the edge of the roof.  Nellie pounced on one, J. pounced on Nellie. Edward hurled himself into the bushes, Bobby McGee stalked baby birds along the north side of the house.
I scooped up Nellie and bundled him through the back door.
Devin cornered Bobbie.
J. turned on the garden hose and shot a stream of water into the hydrangeas. Edward burst from cover, vaulted into the cat yard with J. right behind him.
I can't say just why I am more distressed by the death by cats of birds or chipmunks than I am when presented with a limp mouse or stiffening shrew.
We can attempt to limit the cats' access to the dooryard while birds are nesting, but that's most of the spring and early summer. Its another one of those inevitable situations that I can't fix!

As the iris and peonies have faded, the achilleas are coming into bloom.
I appreciate the 'millefleur' composition of the flowers and enjoy the astringent scent of the foliage.

Edward in the garden.  He imagines himself invisible.

Tomatoes are forming.
I expect it is time to apply copper spray in hopes of having ripe tomatoes before the usual blight
overtakes the plants.

The strawberries are smaller this season, but sweet; we are picking from the remainder of the
 three year old plants.
The original plants spread, giving us an abundance of berries last year--so many that there are
still some in the freezer.
J. tilled in a section of the plants that had become over-run with clover and we set out 25 new ones of an everbearing variety.

The towering Angel Wing begonia spent the winter in our small front entry, its leaning stalks tied to the uprights of a divider that defines part of the space.
I manuevered it sidewise through the front door onto the porch where it is listing into a nandina shrub.
This variety of Angel Wing grows very tall, but the stalks lose their lower leaves, becoming very gawky.
Trimming it back is on my list of things to do.

Tis the season when box turtles carry on their courtships and migrations with flagrant disregard for their own safety. Matt found this one in the backyard.
Although we tried to persuade it otherwise, it eventually lurched through the grass along the drive, headed for parts unknown. 
As I walked down the drive to the mailbox this noon I focused on a bobbing black shape, tiny head raised, making slow progress toward the safety of the grassy verge.
On the way to the dentist earlier today, I recognized the dark blob of a barely moving turtle in time to make a violent swerve around it.  A mile farther I saw the crushed shell of a turtle who hadn't been lucky.

I'm hoping the foxglove will send up a colony of new seedlings.

Double Red Knock-Out roses massed along the east wall of the garage.
All of the roses have enjoyed incredible bloom free from the scourge of Japanes beetles which beset them last summer.
I leave you with this sunny and peaceful view--the weeds and wilt invisible from this kindly angle.

Behind me on the bed as I type, the 'mighty feline hunters' are sprawled sleeping,
 no threat to bird or beastie.
Tomorrow is another day!


  1. Beautiful photos of your garden. I sympathise with that feeling of never catching up with all the weeding and jobs that need doing!

    I share your quandry about cats and birds. We now keep the cats in during daylight hours and they just have a short play outside, in the dark, before coming in for a late supper. Maybe that`s not fair on the cats, but I hate it when they catch nesting or fledgling birds. The swallows are especially vulnerable at this time of year as they swoop over the grass.

    1. Ann; I believe our gardening aspirations beyond a certain age are maybe not in the realm of good sense!
      We are keeping the cats inside most of the day at present. Allowed out about dusk, they become creatures of the night, unconvinced that they need to come back inside.

  2. I completely understand how you are feeling, Tom and me are in the same situation. I think it is made harder because we both were so active in lost of areas, namely gardening, decorating the house, walking in the countryside etc. We just do not have the energy now to do all of these things and as you say it is very frustrating. One can give one's self a good talking to but it doesn't alter the fact that you want to do things but can't.
    We, so far haven't had any gifts from the cats, but I notices that a family of tiny blue tits went past yesterday so the birds are all in full fledge. I dread the time when they bring one in.

    1. Briony; I'm only beginning to grasp that the 'mind over matter' concept of doing things, which has functioned well for most of my life, doesn't quite work anymore. It is difficult to accept the need for 'time out' when there are so many interesting projects calling!

  3. This is a wonderful post about your life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can feel your angst and frustration as well as your joy and satisfaction.

    We just have to take each day as it comes, going with the flow, and trusting in God to work all things out.

    Love and hugs to you and your family ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine; Wise advice from a lady who has reason to know these things. Thank you!

  4. Please do not fret about fungus. We are dealing with several fungus's here also, as it is from the weather I am told my our county agent. Its because of cold, wet, then hot, then cold and wet over and over. We are now getting some rain, but its cold and we have been having nasty hail storms and I do not even have my garden in, or anything.
    Cats will be cats, they are just doing what is in their DNA. :^)
    What you are showing is just beautiful. Just enjoy what you have and be pleased you have won the battle, but still are going to fight to win the war.
    Hugs my friend.

    1. Vicki; Thank you! I need to be reminded that I am not superwoman.
      Gardeners every where and in most every season have to contend with situations that are less than ideal. Its about learning to enjoy the successes and let go of the failures!

  5. Your garden is beautiful Sharon all your hard work pays off even if you don't have time to sit and enjoy it.We had some nice weather 4days of sunshine and now back to wet but my garden is coming on just not the speed that yours is we seem to be about a month behind.Take care my friend don't forget to rest.Love Jill xx

    1. Jill; I really do need to remember 'rest--before I get fall-on-my-face-tired and crabby! Life is full of so many interesting things to do!

  6. I love all the photographs and when I saw the one of the tomato, I could strongly smell the fresh tomato plant! Do your photos have smell attached? Wouldn't that be fun!

    1. Chris; I appreciate the distinctive smell of tomato plants--I worked as a transplanter in a greenhouse for several seasons and became acquainted with a lot of plants in their infancy.
      "Scratch and sniff" blog capabilies--why not?