Crazy Gardens and Stuff

Well, it’s official. The gardens here have gone nuts. This is probably the best growing season we’ve had since we moved into this place twenty or so years ago. The ornamentals, the vegetales, fruit, everything is looking pretty much spectacular.

We put in a few raspberry plants a few years ago because MrsGF’s sister gave us some, or we wouldn’t have bothered because I can’t (or am not supposed to, anyway) eat raspberries because I have diverticulosis and seeds and nuts can cause it to flare up. They sit in a little 8ft by 8ft patch of the garden behind the garage and they never really did that well. Until this year. For about a week now I’ve been picking a bowl full almost every day. They’re starting to slow down now and will probably stop producing by the middle of next week. Beautiful berries. Just wish I could eat ’em. Sigh…

I wasn’t going to put squash in this year because we haven’t had very good luck with them. But MrsGF found a different variety and put in a few plants and they’re doing good too. So far no sign of powdery mildew which pretty much ruined them last year.

We cut back on the number of tomato plants we put in. Last year we put in 12 or 14 plants and even though it wasn’t a very good year for tomatoes we still had more than we could ever possibly use. We only put in six plants this year in the raised beds and, well, so far it looks like we’re going to get more off those six plants than we got off a dozen of them last year. They’re just barely starting to come ripe now and I’m looking forward to having fresh tomatoes again.

And dear lord, the beans… We put in two varieties this year, a wax bean and some pole beans and we over planted those as well, it seems. The picking season is only just getting started and we already are getting more beans than we know what to do with and are looking for ideas of dealing with ’em. We’ll probably be giving away a lot of produce this year.

We put in a few different varieties of peppers, and it looks like they’re going to be ridiculously prolific as well. I’m not really sure exactly what variety these are. They were labeled “hot pepper”, but no variety was listed. They aren’t really hot, though. They’re actually quite mild. There is a tiny bit of heat there, but they aren’t even close to jalapeno peppers. Nice flavor, though. I think I might try canning some of these as pickled peppers.

I’m a bit concerned about the pear tree. It’s so loaded with fruit that branches that normally are about head height are already being pulled down almost to the ground by the weight of the fruit. I think I’m going to have to start snipping fruit off the branches I can reach before we start having branches breaking off.

I call this the finch corner. The cone flowers and sunflowers are finch magnets, or will be in a week or two as the seeds start to develop more. In a fairly short time this whole corner will be swarming with finches coming for the seeds. Great fun to watch out of the windows of the house.

Let’s see, what else… Oh, I made a – a thing again!

Bottom part is cherry, top is… Well, to be honest I’m not sure what kind of wood the top is made from. It’s a piece of scrap I found down in the shop and thought it made a nice contrast with the bottom. You can see an indentation around the middle of the bottom part. That is going to be stained very dark, almost black, to add contrast.

What the heck is it? Who knows? It isn’t useful as a bowl or anything. It’s a sort of, oh, art piece? Maybe? Kinda?

Garden Stuff

It’s been a ridiculously pleasant day, warm, sunny. But we have thunderstorms moving in now so I have a chance to get caught up here.

IMG_0267.jpg

The falling petals from the pear flowers almost make it look like it’s been snowing in the backyard. We’ve had better flower coverage last year, but the tree seems to go in two year cycles, a year of ridiculous overabundance, with it being a bit less ridiculously loaded with fruit the next year. Doesn’t matter. Even in a poor year we generally have more fruit than we know what to do with and end up giving away buckets of them in September when they come ripe.

We still haven’t done anything with the raised beds, but that will be coming as soon as this rainy spell passes. It was in the 70s today and it’s supposed to hit the mid-80s tomorrow. That’s only going to be for one day and then they claim it’s going to get back to more normal temperatures.

IMG_0262.jpg

I wasn’t sure the lilac was going to blossom this year. We hacked it back almost to the ground because it was so badly overgrown, but it’s a good four feet tall now, most of it new growth, and it’s covered with budding flowers. And the smell is absolutely¬†amazing. I love the smell of lilac. ¬†It seems just about everyone had a lilac lurking somewhere in their yard because when I walk through town I smell them almost everywhere I go.

IMG_0269.jpg

I’m not sure how Mr. Spiny manages to survive the winter, but he somehow manages. He needs a good wash, I think, but he did not get the name Mr. Spiny for nothing. You can’t really see them in the photo, but the spines on this guy are absolutely vicious. Maybe use the carwash brush on him? And volunteer poppies are coming up all over back there, too. I frankly don’t know how anything grows back there. The soil is horrible, it gets very little moisture because it’s under the eaves of the house.

IMG_0268.jpg

One lonely tulip popped up amidst the daffodils. I’d forgotten it was even in there until a single yellow flower popped up the other day. Probably should move him. He’s never going to make it in there.

IMG_0266.jpg

My wife’s sister gave us some raspberry plants a couple of years ago. We decided to move them last fall, dug them up and planted them in the garden behind the garage. I didn’t think they’d make it. My wife says you couldn’t kill these with a gallon of RoundUp and a flamethrower, and it seems she’s right. Not only did all of them survive they seem to be thriving back there with tons of new growth. I love raspberries, but I have ‘issues’ as they say; diverticulitis. I’m not supposed to eat anything with seeds, nuts, anything with chunks that could get caught in the plumbing, so to speak. But when a fresh raspberry is sitting there all red and juicy… who can resist?

IMG_0265.jpg

My neighbor’s crazy old apple tree is in full blossom. It needs to be pruned badly but we seem to keep forgetting to do it. Not that the tree seems to mind. It’s loaded with fruit every year.

One of the neat things about this town is that there are fruit trees all over. Walk around a corner and Bam! There’s another burst of white or pink or red color with an apple or pear in full bloom. What a beautiful time of year! May is absolutely amazing.

And speaking of amazing, May is also our wedding anniversary. They said it would never last, and maybe they’re right? It’s only been thirty-seven years now, so we’re still pretty much newlyweds, right?